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

Expression and activity of l-isoaspartyl methyltransferase decrease in stage progression of human astrocytic tumors.

Protein l-isoaspartyl methyltransferase (PIMT) functions as a repair enzyme that acts upon damaged proteins bearing abnormal aspartyl residues. We previously reported that PIMT expression and activity are reduced by half in human epileptic hippocampus. Here we investigated PIMT regulation in astrocytic tumors, which are the most common human brain tumors. PIMT expression and enzyme activity were significantly decreased in all grades of human astrocytic tumors. More precisely, PIMT levels were significantly lower by 76% in pilocytic astrocytomas (grade I), 46% in astrocytomas (grade II), 69% in anaplastic astrocytomas (grade III), and a marked 80% in glioblastomas (grade IV) as compared to normal brains. RT-PCR analysis showed that levels of type I PIMT mRNA were up-regulated while those of type II PIMT mRNA were down-regulated in glioblastomas. Furthermore, the reduced PIMT levels correlated closely with a decrease in the number of neuron cells in astrocytic tumors as assessed by measuring the neuron-specific enolase level. Many proteins with abnormal aspartyl residues accumulated in brain tumors and some were specific to individual grades of astrocytic tumors. Similar results were obtained, either by measuring the reduction in PIMT activity and expression or by measuring the formation of abnormal proteins, in an orthotopic rat brain tumor model implanted with invasive CNS-1 glioma cells. The novelty of these findings was to provide the first evidence for a marked reduction of PIMT expression and activity during stage progression of astrocytic tumors in humans.[1]


  1. Expression and activity of l-isoaspartyl methyltransferase decrease in stage progression of human astrocytic tumors. Lapointe, M., Lanthier, J., Moumdjian, R., Régina, A., Desrosiers, R.R. Brain Res. Mol. Brain Res. (2005) [Pubmed]
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