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

Molecular cloning of translocation t(1;14)(q21;q32) defines a novel gene (BCL9) at chromosome 1q21.

Abnormalities of chromosome 1q21 are common in B-cell malignancies and have been associated with a poor response to therapy. The nature of the involved gene(s) on chromosome 1q21 remains unknown. A cell line (CEMO-1) has recently been established from a patient with precursor-B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which exhibited a t(1;14)(q21;q32). To identify the gene involved in this translocation, we have cloned both rearranged IGHJ alleles using long-distance inverse polymerase chain reaction (LDI-PCR). Two IGHJ fragments were amplified from CEMO-1 DNA and sequenced. One allele showed novel sequences upstream of JH5 with no homology to either IGH or any other sequences on the databases. Using a single-copy Xho I fragment immediately 5' of JH5, PAC clones were isolated and mapped to chromosome 1q21 on normal metaphases by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), confirming that this allele represented the t(1;14)(q21;q32) breakpoint. Sequence analysis of the 1q21 Xho I fragment showed identity with an expressed sequence tag (EST), and this probe was therefore used to probe Northern blots. Two transcripts of 6.3 kb and 4.2 kb expressed at low level in mRNA from all tissues were detected: a third transcript of 1.6 kb was expressed only in thymus, spleen, and small intestine. Full-length BCL9 cDNA clones were obtained from a normal human fetal brain cDNA library supplemented by 5' and 3' RACE. Sequence analysis predicted a protein of 1394 amino acids containing 18% proline, 11% glycine, 11% serine, and 6% methionine, but no recognizable protein motifs or significant homologies to any other known proteins. The CEMO-1 1q21 breakpoint fell within the 3' UTR of the BCL9 gene. Low-level expression of BCL9 was detected in Epstein-Barr virus-transformed normal B cells by Northern blot; in contrast, abundant BCL9 expression was observed in CEMO-1, indicating that deregulated expression of this gene was one pathological consequence of the translocation. Screening of a panel of 39 B-cell malignancies with 1q abnormalities by Southern blot showed one additional case with a breakpoint in the 3' UTR of BCL9, indicating that this was a recurrent breakpoint. FISH analysis using an 850-kb YAC spanning BCL9 identified a further case with t(1;22)(q21;q11) causing juxtaposition of BCL9 to the IGlambda locus. Other breakpoints were heterogeneous, falling both centromeric (10 cases) and telomeric (10 cases) of the BCL9 gene. These data suggest that BCL9 may be the target of translocation in some B-cell malignancies with abnormalities of 1q21 and that deregulated BCL9 expression may be important in their pathogenesis.[1]


  1. Molecular cloning of translocation t(1;14)(q21;q32) defines a novel gene (BCL9) at chromosome 1q21. Willis, T.G., Zalcberg, I.R., Coignet, L.J., Wlodarska, I., Stul, M., Jadayel, D.M., Bastard, C., Treleaven, J.G., Catovsky, D., Silva, M.L., Dyer, M.J. Blood (1998) [Pubmed]
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