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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Functionally impaired TR mutants are present in thyroid papillary cancer.

TRs are transcription factors that regulate cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. They are cellular homologs of the transcriptionally inactive viral oncogene v-erbA. We tested the hypothesis that the functions of TRs could be impaired in cancer tissues as a result of aberrant expression and/or somatic mutations. As a model system, we selected human thyroid papillary cancer, in which the most common abnormalities, RET/papillary thyroid cancer rearrangements (fusion of RET kinase domain to the activating domains of other genes), were found in 40--45% of cases. We found that the mean expression levels of TR beta mRNA and TR alpha mRNA were significantly lower, whereas the protein levels of TR beta 1 and TR alpha 1 were higher in cancer tissues than in healthy thyroid. Sequencing of TR beta 1 and TR alpha 1 cDNAs, cloned from 16 papillary cancers, revealed that mutations affected receptor amino acid sequences in 93.75% and 62.5% of cases, respectively. In contrast, no mutations were found in healthy thyroid controls, and only 11.11% and 22.22% of thyroid adenomas had such TR beta 1 or TR alpha 1 mutations, respectively. The majority of the mutated TRs lost their trans-activation function and exhibited dominant negative activity. These findings suggest a possible role for mutated thyroid hormone receptors in the tumorigenesis of human papillary thyroid carcinoma.[1]


  1. Functionally impaired TR mutants are present in thyroid papillary cancer. Puzianowska-Kuznicka, M., Krystyniak, A., Madej, A., Cheng, S.Y., Nauman, J. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. (2002) [Pubmed]
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