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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Hematology - Oncology

Allele-Specific Deletions in Mouse Tumors Identify Fbxw7 as Germline Modifier of Tumor Susceptibility
Published: Monday, February 13, 2012
Author: Jesus Perez-Losada et al.

by Jesus Perez-Losada, Di Wu, Reyno DelRosario, Allan Balmain, Jian-Hua Mao

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been successful in finding associations between specific genetic variants and cancer susceptibility in human populations. These studies have identified a range of highly statistically significant associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and susceptibility to development of a range of human tumors. However, the effect of each SNP in isolation is very small, and all of the SNPs combined only account for a relatively minor proportion of the total genetic risk (5–10%). There is therefore a major requirement for alternative routes to the discovery of genetic risk factors for cancer. We have previously shown using mouse models that chromosomal regions harboring susceptibility genes identified by linkage analysis frequently exhibit allele-specific genetic alterations in tumors. We demonstrate here that the Fbxw7 gene, a commonly mutated gene in a wide range of mouse and human cancers, shows allele-specific deletions in mouse lymphomas and skin tumors. Lymphomas from three different F1 hybrids show 100% allele-specificity in the patterns of allelic loss. Parental alleles from 129/Sv or Spretus/Gla mice are lost in tumors from F1 hybrids with C57BL/6 animals, due to the presence of a specific non-synonymous coding sequence polymorphism at the N-terminal portion of the gene. A specific genetic test of association between this SNP and lymphoma susceptibility in interspecific backcross mice showed a significant linkage (p?=?0.001), but only in animals with a functional p53 gene. These data therefore identify Fbxw7 as a p53-dependent tumor susceptibility gene. Increased p53-dependent tumor susceptibility and allele-specific losses were also seen in a mouse skin model of skin tumor development. We propose that analysis of preferential allelic imbalances in tumors may provide an efficient means of uncovering genetic variants that affect mouse and human tumor susceptibility.
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