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

Protein and mRNA expression of autophagy gene Beclin 1 in human brain tumours.

Beclin 1 is is an autophagy gene, the role of which as a tumour suppressor has recently been recognized in a few studies. We examined the expression of Beclin 1 protein in 212 primary human brain tumours, including 97 high-grade glial tumours, 29 low-grade glial tumours, 4 grade III meningiomas, 19 grade II meningiomas, 52 grade I meningiomas, and 11 medulloblastomas. In 94 cases, including 56 glial tumours, 35 meningiomas, and 3 medulloblastomas we also assessed Beclin 1 mRNA expression by real-time RT-PCR. In most high-grade astrocytic, ependymal neoplasms and atypical meningiomas we found a decrease of cytoplasmic protein expression that was, instead, high in the majority of low-grade tumours and in medulloblastomas. The expression level of Beclin 1 mRNA was significantly lower in glioblastomas than in grade II (p=0.04) and grade I (p=0.01) astrocytomas; in grade III than in grade I astrocytomas (p=0.01); in grade II than in grade I meningiomas (p=0.03); and in all glial tumours when compared to all meningiomas (p<0.0001). Cytoplasmic expression is thought to be linked to the functional protein. Our observations are in line with studies that demonstrated decreased expression of Beclin 1 in human breast, ovarian, prostate and ovarian cancer and furtherly support its involvement also in brain tumours, which had previously been demonstrated in a few experimental studies, both in spontaneous and in therapy-induced autophagy. Furthermore, our study suggests possible differences of Beclin 1 involvement and its role among the different histotypes of brain neoplasms. Further studies are needed to highlight Beclin 1 function in tumour suppression and/ or in tumour survival through autophagy and other related programmed cell death processes in brain tumours.[1]


  1. Protein and mRNA expression of autophagy gene Beclin 1 in human brain tumours. Miracco, C., Cosci, E., Oliveri, G., Luzi, P., Pacenti, L., Monciatti, I., Mannucci, S., De Nisi, M.C., Toscano, M., Malagnino, V., Falzarano, S.M., Pirtoli, L., Tosi, P. Int. J. Oncol. (2007) [Pubmed]
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