We report a constitutional point mutation of codon 278 in exon 8 of the TP53 gene that has not yet been described as a germ-line mutation. A 52-year-old female developed multiple primary malignancies (liposarcoma, breast cancer, malignant histiocytoma, occult adenocarcinoma). The mutation found in her tumour and peripheral blood lymphocyte DNA is a cytosine to thymine transition at the second position of codon 278 resulting in an amino acid exchange from proline to leucine in the DNA-binding domain. Evaluation of the patient's family revealed that both of her sons were affected by the same mutation. Although the patient's mother had died already, we were able to demonstrate by polymorphic microsatellite analysis that the defective allele originated from the maternal side. As four brothers and one sister had inherited the same allele, which however was wild type, we were able to show that the mutation must have occurred in the germ cells of the patient's mother and that it may therefore be called de novo. This explains the lack of a high cancer incidence in the family history. All tumours tested showed positive immunohistochemical staining for p53. Loss of heterozygosity was found in five of seven tumours, one showing chromosome 17 monosomy.
Similar binding sites often imply similar protein-protein interactions and similar functions; however, similar binding sites may also constitute traps for nonfunctional associations. How are similar sites distinguished to prevent misassociations? BRCT domain from breast cancer-susceptibility gene product BRCA1 is structurally similar to 53BP1-BRCT domain, yet with different binding behavior with p53 core domain. 53BP1-BRCT domain forms a stable complex with p53. In contrast, BRCA1-p53 interaction is weak or other mechanisms operate. To delineate the difference, we designed thirteen BRCA1-BRCT mutants, and computationally investigated the structural and stability changes compared to the experimental p53-53BP1 structure. Interestingly, of the thirteen, the two mutations which are cancerous and involve non-conserved residues are those that enforced p53 core domain binding with BRCA1-BRCT in a way similar to p53-53BP1 binding. Hence, falling into the “similarity trap” may disrupt normal BRCA1 and p53 functions. Our results illustrate how this trap is avoided in the native state.
protein-protein interactions; BRCT domain; 53BP1 BRCT-p53 interactions; BRCA1-p53 interaction; protein binding sites
SLX4 encodes a DNA repair protein that regulates three structure-specific endonucleases and is necessary for resistance to DNA crosslinking agents, topoisomerase I and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors. Recent studies have reported mutations in SLX4 in a new subtype of Fanconi anemia (FA), FA-P. Monoallelic defects in several FA genes are known to confer susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancers.
Methods and Results
To determine if SLX4 is involved in breast cancer susceptibility, we sequenced the entire SLX4 coding region in 738 (270 Jewish and 468 non-Jewish) breast cancer patients with 2 or more family members affected by breast cancer and no known BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. We found a novel nonsense (c.2469G>A, p.W823*) mutation in one patient. In addition, we also found 51 missense variants [13 novel, 23 rare (MAF<0.1%), and 15 common (MAF>1%)], of which 22 (5 novel and 17 rare) were predicted to be damaging by Polyphen2 (score = 0.65–1). We performed functional complementation studies using p.W823* and 5 SLX4 variants (4 novel and 1 rare) cDNAs in a human SLX4-null fibroblast cell line, RA3331. While wild type SLX4 and all the other variants fully rescued the sensitivity to mitomycin C (MMC), campthothecin (CPT), and PARP inhibitor (Olaparib) the p.W823* SLX4 mutant failed to do so.
Loss-of-function mutations in SLX4 may contribute to the development of breast cancer in very rare cases.
The p53 tumour suppressor is a transcriptional activator that controls cell fate in response to various stresses. p53 can initiate cell cycle arrest, senescence and/or apoptosis via transactivation of p53 target genes, thus preventing cancer onset. Mutations that impair p53 usually occur in the core domain and negate the p53 sequence-specific DNA binding. Moreover, these mutations exhibit a dominant negative effect on the remaining wild-type p53. Here, we report the cryo electron microscopy structure of the full-length p53 tetramer bound to a DNA-encoding transcription factor response element (RE) at a resolution of 21 Å. While two core domains from both dimers of the p53 tetramer interact with DNA within the complex, the other two core domains remain available for binding another DNA site. This finding helps to explain the dominant negative effect of p53 mutants based on the fact that p53 dimers are formed co-translationally before the whole tetramer assembles; therefore, a single mutant dimer would prevent the p53 tetramer from binding DNA. The structure indicates that the Achilles’ heel of p53 is in its dimer-of-dimers organization, thus the tetramer activity can be negated by mutation in only one allele followed by tumourigenesis.
Germ line inactivating mutations in BRCA1 confer susceptibility for breast and ovarian cancer. However, the relevance of the many missense changes in the gene for which the effect on protein function is unknown remains unclear. Determination of which variants are causally associated with cancer is important for assessment of individual risk. We used a functional assay that measures the transactivation activity of BRCA1 in combination with analysis of protein modeling based on the structure of BRCA1 BRCT domains. In addition, the information generated was interpreted in light of genetic data. We determined the predicted cancer association of 22 BRCA1 variants and verified that the common polymorphism S1613G has no effect on BRCA1 function, even when combined with other rare variants. We estimated the specificity and sensitivity of the assay, and by meta-analysis of 47 variants, we show that variants with <45% of wild-type activity can be classified as deleterious whereas variants with >50% can be classified as neutral. In conclusion, we did functional and structure-based analyses on a large series of BRCA1 missense variants and defined a tentative threshold activity for the classification missense variants. By interpreting the validated functional data in light of additional clinical and structural evidence, we conclude that it is possible to classify all missense variants in the BRCA1 COOH-terminal region. These results bring functional assays for BRCA1 closer to clinical applicability.
The tumour-suppressor gene TP53 is frequently mutated in breast tumours, and the majority of the mutations are clustered within the core domain, the region involved in DNA binding. We searched for alterations in this central domain of the TP53gene in 222 human breast cancer specimens using polymerase chain reaction-single-strand conformation analysis (PCR-SSCA) followed by sequencing. TP53 gene mutations were observed in 66 tumours (31%), including three tumours that contain two mutations. Fifty-four (78%) of these mutations were missense point mutations, one was a nonsense mutation and four were deletions and/or insertions causing disruption of the protein reading frame, whereas four mutations were either silent or a polymorphism (at codon 213; n = 6). Interestingly, the majority of missense mutations were observed at codon 248. The outcome has been related with patient and tumour characteristics, and with prognosis in 177 patients who were eligible for analysis of both relapse-free and overall survival (median survival for patients alive was 115 months). There was no significant association between the frequency of TP53 mutations and menopausal or nodal status, or tumour size. In a Cox univariate analysis, TP53 gene mutation was significantly associated with poor relapse-free survival (RFS: P = 0.02) but not with overall survival (OS: P = 0.07). In a Cox multivariate analysis, including classical prognostic factors, TP53 gene mutation independently predicted poor RFS and OS (RHR = 1.8 and 1.6 respectively). Unexpectedly, the median relapse-free survival of patients with a polymorphism at codon 213 or with a silent mutation was shorter (median 11 months) than the median relapse-free survival of patients with or without a TP53 gene mutation (median 34 or 48 months respectively). In an exploratory subset analysis, mutations in codons that directly contact DNA were related with the poorest relapse-free (P < 0.05) and overall survival (P < 0.02). These data imply that in the analysis of the prognostic value of TP53, the type of mutation and its biological function should be considered.
The p53 tumor suppressor is a transcription factor involved in many important signaling pathways, such as apoptosis and cell-cycle arrest. In over half of human cancers, p53 function is compromised by a mutation in its gene. Mutations in the p53 DNA-binding core domain destabilize the structure and reduce DNA-binding activity. We performed molecular dynamics simulations at physiological temperature to study the structural and dynamic effects of the L145Q, V157F, and R282W cancer-associated mutations in comparison to the wild-type protein. While there were common regions of destabilization in the mutant simulations, structural changes particular to individual mutations were also observed. Significant backbone deviations of the H2 helix and S7–S8 loop were observed in all mutant simulations; the H2 helix binds to DNA. In addition, the L145Q and V157F mutations, which are located in the β-sandwich core of the domain, disrupted the β-sheet structure and the loop-sheet-helix motif. The R282W mutation caused distortion of the loop-sheet-helix motif, but otherwise this mutant was similar to the wild-type structure. The introduction of these mutations caused rearrangement of the DNA-binding surface, consistent with their reduced DNA-binding activity. The simulations reveal detailed effects of the mutations on the stability and dynamics of p53 that may provide insight for therapeutic approaches.
p53 tumor suppressor; oncogenic mutation; molecular dynamics; protein structure
The amino-terminal portion of polyomavirus (Py) large T antigen (T Ag) contains two phosphorylation sites, at T187 and T278, which are potential substrates for cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs). Our experiments were designed to test whether either or both of these sites are involved in the origin DNA (ori DNA) replication function of Py T Ag. Mutations were generated in Py T Ag whereby either or both threonines were replaced with alanine, generating T187A, T278A, and double-mutants (DM [T187A T278A]) mutant T Ags. We found that the Py ori DNA replication functions of T278A and DM, but not T187A, mutant T Ags were abolished both in vivo and in vitro. Consistent with this finding, it was shown that the ori DNA binding and unwinding activities of mutant T278A Py T Ag were greatly impaired. Moreover, whereas wild-type Py T Ag is an efficient substrate for phosphorylation by cyclin A-CDK2 and cyclin B-cdc2 complexes, it is phosphorylated poorly by a cyclin E-CDK2 complex. In contrast to mutant T187A, which behaved similarly to the wild-type protein, T278A was only weakly phosphorylated by cyclin B-cdc2. These data thus suggest that T278 is an important site on Py T Ag for phosphorylation by CDKs and that loss of this site leads to its various defects in mediating ori DNA replication. S- and G2-phase-specific CDKs, but not a G1-specific CDK, can phosphorylate wild-type T Ag, which suggests yet another reason why DNA tumor viruses require actively cycling host cells.
Although the rate of breast cancer differs between women in Asian and Western countries, molecular genetics/genomics basis of this epidemiological observation remains elusive. Moreover, the intake of phytoestrogens is associated with a lower incidence of breast cancer. Genistein and daidzein are the primary soy isoflavones with a chemical structure similar to estrogens. Conceivably, the actions of phytoestrogens on gene expression signatures might mediate their postulated effects on breast cancer pathogenesis. The present study evaluated the transcriptional responsiveness of breast cancer cells to soy phytoestrogens using a whole-genome microarray-based approach. Human breast cancer cell lines and a fibrocystic breast cell line were treated with genistein or daidzein. We identified 278 and 334 differentially expressed genes after genistein or daidzein treatment, respectively, in estrogen-positive (MCF-7) and estrogen-negative (MDA-MB-231, MCF-10a) cells. Hierarchical clustering of this finding revealed a significant modulation, respectively, of 246 or 169 genes after genistein or daidzein exposures. Importantly, the molecular pathways for the differentially expressed genes included those that relate to cell communication, biodegradation of xenobiotics, lipid metabolism, signal transduction, and cell growth/death. These molecular observations collectively contribute to a growing knowledgebase on the putative mechanism(s) of action of phytoestrogens in breast cancer pathogenesis and chemoprevention.
PALB2 interacts with BRCA2, and biallelic mutations in PALB2 (also known as FANCN), similar to biallelic BRCA2 mutations, cause Fanconi anemia. We identified monoallelic truncating PALB2 mutations in 10/923 individuals with familial breast cancer compared with 0/1,084 controls (P = 0.0004) and show that such mutations confer a 2.3-fold higher risk of breast cancer (95% confidence interval (c.i.) = 1.4–3.9, P = 0.0025). The results show that PALB2 is a breast cancer susceptibility gene and further demonstrate the close relationship of the Fanconi anemia–DNA repair pathway and breast cancer predisposition.
Polyomavirus large T antigen (large T) is a highly phosphorylated protein that can be separated by proteolysis into two domains that have independent function. A cluster of phosphorylation sites was found in the protease-sensitive region connecting the N-terminal and C-terminal domains. Edman degradation of 32P-labeled protein identified serines 267, 271, and 274 and threonine 278 as sites of phosphorylation. Analysis of site-directed mutants confirmed directly that residues 271, 274, and 278 were phosphorylated. Threonine 278, shown here to be phosphorylated by cyclin/cyclin-dependent kinase activity, is required for viral DNA replication in either the full-length large T or C-terminal domain context. The serine phosphorylations are unimportant in the C-terminal domain context even though their mutations activates viral DNA replication in full-length large T. This finding suggests that these sites may function in relating the two domains to each other. Although the phosphorylation sites were involved in viral DNA replication, none was important for the ability of large T to drive cellular DNA replication as measured by bromodeoxyuridine incorporation, and they did not affect large T interactions with the Rb tumor suppressor family.
The tumor suppressor protein p53 can lose its function upon single-point missense mutations in the core DNA-binding domain (“cancer mutants”). Activity can be restored by second-site suppressor mutations (“rescue mutants”). This paper relates the functional activity of p53 cancer and rescue mutants to their overall molecular dynamics (MD), without focusing on local structural details. A novel global measure of protein flexibility for the p53 core DNA-binding domain, the number of clusters at a certain RMSD cutoff, was computed by clustering over 0.7 µs of explicitly solvated all-atom MD simulations. For wild-type p53 and a sample of p53 cancer or rescue mutants, the number of clusters was a good predictor of in vivo p53 functional activity in cell-based assays. This number-of-clusters (NOC) metric was strongly correlated (r2 = 0.77) with reported values of experimentally measured ΔΔG protein thermodynamic stability. Interpreting the number of clusters as a measure of protein flexibility: (i) p53 cancer mutants were more flexible than wild-type protein, (ii) second-site rescue mutations decreased the flexibility of cancer mutants, and (iii) negative controls of non-rescue second-site mutants did not. This new method reflects the overall stability of the p53 core domain and can discriminate which second-site mutations restore activity to p53 cancer mutants.
p53 is a tumor suppressor protein that controls a central apoptotic pathway (programmed cell death). Thus, it is the most-mutated gene in human cancers. Due to the marginal stability of p53, a single mutation can abolish p53 function (“cancer mutants”), while a second mutation (or several) can restore it (“rescue mutants”). Restoring p53 function is a promising therapeutic goal that has been strongly supported by recent experimental results on mice. Understanding of the effects of p53 cancer and rescue mutations would be helpful for designing drugs that are able to achieve the same goal. The challenge is that cancer and rescue mutations are distributed widely in the protein, and experimental testing of all possible combinations of mutations is not feasible. This paper describes a simple computational metric that reflects the overall stability of the p53 core domain and can discriminate which second-site mutations restore activity to p53 cancer mutants.
XRCC1 (X-ray cross-complementing group 1) is a DNA repair protein that forms complexes with DNA polymerase β (β-Pol), DNA ligase III and poly-ADP-ribose polymerase in the repair of DNA single strand breaks. The domains in XRCC1 have been determined, and characterization of the domain–domain interaction in the XRCC1-β-Pol complex has provided information on the specificity and mechanism of binding. The domain structure of XRCC1, determined using limited proteolysis, was found to include an N-terminal domain (NTD), a central BRCT-I (breast cancer susceptibility protein-1) domain and a C-terminal BRCT-II domain. The BRCT-I–linker–BRCT-II C-terminal fragment and the linker–BRCT-II C-terminal fragment were relatively stable to proteolysis suggestive of a non-random conformation of the linker. A predicted inner domain was found not to be stable to proteolysis. Using cross-linking experiments, XRCC1 was found to bind intact β-Pol and the β-Pol 31 kDa domain. The XRCC1-NTD1–183 (residues 1–183) was found to bind β-Pol, the β-Pol 31 kDa domain and the β-Pol C-terminal palm-thumb (residues 140–335), and the interaction was further localized to XRCC1-NTD1–157 (residues 1–157). The XRCC1-NTD1–183-β-Pol 31 kDa domain complex was stable at high salt (1 M NaCl) indicative of a hydrophobic contribution. Using a yeast two-hybrid screen, polypeptides expressed from two XRCC1 constructs, which included residues 36–355 and residues 1–159, were found to interact with β-Pol, the β-Pol 31 kDa domain, and the β-Pol C-terminal thumb-only domain polypeptides expressed from the respective β-Pol constructs. Neither the XRCC1-NTD1–159, nor the XRCC136–355 polypeptide was found to interact with a β-Pol thumbless polypeptide. A third XRCC1 polypeptide (residues 75–212) showed no interaction with β-Pol. In quantitative gel filtration and analytical ultracentrifugation experiments, the XRCC1-NTD1–183 was found to bind β-Pol and its 31 kDa domain in a 1:1 complex with high affinity (Kd of 0.4–2.4 µM). The combined results indicate a thumb-domain specific 1:1 interaction between the XRCC1-NTD1–159 and β-Pol that is of an affinity comparable to other binding interactions involving β-Pol.
Less than 20% of Pakistani women with early-onset or familial breast/ovarian cancer harbor germ line mutations in the high-penetrance genes BRCA1, BRCA2 and TP53. Thus, mutations in other genes confer genetic susceptibility to breast cancer, of which CHEK2 is a plausible candidate. CHEK2 encodes a checkpoint kinase, involved in response to DNA damage.
In the present study we assessed the prevalence of CHEK2 germ line mutations in 145 BRCA1/2-negative early-onset and familial breast/ovarian cancer patients from Pakistan (Group 1). Mutation analysis of the complete CHEK2 coding region was performed using denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography analysis, followed by DNA sequencing of variant fragments.
Two potentially deleterious missense mutations, c.275C>G (p.P92R) and c.1216C>T, (p.R406C), were identified (1.4%). The c.275C>G mutation is novel and has not been described in other populations. It was detected in a 30-year-old breast cancer patient with a family history of breast and multiple other cancers. The c.1216C>T mutation was found in a 34-year-old ovarian cancer patient from a family with two breast cancer cases. Both mutations were not detected in 229 recently recruited BRCA1/2-negative high risk patients (Group 2).
Our findings suggest that CHEK2 mutations may not contribute significantly to breast/ovarian cancer risk in Pakistani women.
CHEK2; Germ line mutations; Early-onset and familial breast cancer; Pakistan
Multiple genetic loci confer susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancers. We have previously developed a model (BOADICEA) under which susceptibility to breast cancer is explained by mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, as well as by the joint multiplicative effects of many genes (polygenic component). We have now updated BOADICEA using additional family data from two UK population-based studies of breast cancer and family data from BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers identified by 22 population-based studies of breast or ovarian cancer. The combined data set includes 2785 families (301 BRCA1 positive and 236 BRCA2 positive). Incidences were smoothed using locally weighted regression techniques to avoid large variations between adjacent intervals. A birth cohort effect on the cancer risks was implemented, whereby each individual was assumed to develop cancer according to calendar period-specific incidences. The fitted model predicts that the average breast cancer risks in carriers increase in more recent birth cohorts. For example, the average cumulative breast cancer risk to age 70 years among BRCA1 carriers is 50% for women born in 1920–1929 and 58% among women born after 1950. The model was further extended to take into account the risks of male breast, prostate and pancreatic cancer, and to allow for the risk of multiple cancers. BOADICEA can be used to predict carrier probabilities and cancer risks to individuals with any family history, and has been implemented in a user-friendly Web-based program (http://www.srl.cam.ac.uk/genepi/boadicea/boadicea_home.html).
BRCA1; BRCA2; cancer risk model; genetic testing
We have recently shown that the CHEK2*1100delC mutation acts as a low penetrance breast cancer susceptibility allele. To investigate if other CHEK2 variants confer an increased risk of breast cancer, we have screened an affected individual with breast cancer from 68 breast cancer families. Five of these individuals were found to harbour germline variants in CHEK2. Three carried the 1100delC variant (4%). One of these three individuals also carried the missense variant, Arg180His. In the other two individuals, missense variants, Arg117Gly and Arg137Gln, were identified. These two missense variants reside within the Forkhead-associated domain of CHEK2, which is important for the function of the expressed protein. None of these missense variants were present in 300 healthy controls. Microdissected tumours with a germline mutation showed loss of the mutant allele suggesting a mechanism for tumorigenesis other than a loss of the wild type allele. This study provides further evidence that sequence variation in CHEK2 is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, and implies that tumorigenesis in association with CHEK2 mutations does not involve loss of the wild type allele.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 87, 1445–1448. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6600637 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
breast cancer; CHEK2; mutation
The breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 encodes a protein that has been implicated in multiple nuclear functions, including transcription and DNA repair. The multifunctional nature of BRCA1 has raised the possibility that the polypeptide may regulate various nuclear processes via a common underlying mechanism such as chromatin remodeling. However, to date, no direct evidence exists in mammalian cells for BRCA1-mediated changes in either local or large-scale chromatin structure. Here we show that targeting BRCA1 to an amplified, lac operator–containing chromosome region in the mammalian genome results in large-scale chromatin decondensation. This unfolding activity is independently conferred by three subdomains within the transactivation domain of BRCA1, namely activation domain 1, and the two BRCA1 COOH terminus (BRCT) repeats. In addition, we demonstrate a similar chromatin unfolding activity associated with the transactivation domains of E2F1 and tumor suppressor p53. However, unlike E2F1 and p53, BRCT-mediated chromatin unfolding is not accompanied by histone hyperacetylation. Cancer-predisposing mutations of BRCA1 display an allele-specific effect on chromatin unfolding: 5′ mutations that result in gross truncation of the protein abolish the chromatin unfolding activity, whereas those in the 3′ region of the gene markedly enhance this activity. A novel cofactor of BRCA1 (COBRA1) is recruited to the chromosome site by the first BRCT repeat of BRCA1, and is itself sufficient to induce chromatin unfolding. BRCA1 mutations that enhance chromatin unfolding also increase its affinity for, and recruitment of, COBRA1. These results indicate that reorganization of higher levels of chromatin structure is an important regulated step in BRCA1-mediated nuclear functions.
BRCA1; BRCT; chromatin unfolding; breast cancer; COBRA1
Defects in Brca1 confer susceptibility to breast cancer and genomic instability indicative of aberrant repair of DNA breaks. Brca1 was previously implicated in the homologous recombination pathway via effects on the assembly of recombinase Rad51. Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) deaminates C to U in B lymphocyte immunoglobulin (Ig) DNA to initiate programmed DNA breaks. Subsequent Uracil-glycosylase mediated U removal, and perhaps further processing, leads to four known classes of mutation: Ig class switch recombination that results in a region-specific genomic deletion, Ig somatic hypermutation that introduces point mutations in Ig V-regions, Ig gene conversion in vertebrates that possess Ig pseudo-V genes, and translocations common to B cell lymphomas. We tested the involvement of Brca1 in AID-dependent Ig diversification in chicken DT40 cells. The DT40 cell line diversifies Ig Vλ mainly by gene conversion, and less so by point mutation. Brca1-deficiency caused a shift in Vλ diversification, significantly reducing the proportion of gene conversions relative to point mutations. Thus, Brca1 regulates AID-dependent DNA lesion repair. Interestingly, while Brca1 is required to recruit ubiquitinated FancD2 to DNA damage, the phenotype of Brca1-deficient DT40 differs from the one of FancD2-deficient DT40, in which both gene conversion and non-templated mutations are impaired.
The ataxia telangiectasia mutated gene (ATM), candidate for breast cancer susceptibility gene, encode a 350-kDa protein belongs to the core components of DNA-damage response machinery. Female AT carriers have at least 5-fold increase risk for breast cancer. Reduction in ATM expression is shown in multiple studies in breast tissues. We aimed to perform a research to measure the ATM mRNA expression in peripheral blood cells in breast cancer patients. Peripheral blood sample from 40 newly diagnosed, histologically confirmed female breast cancer patients was collected before surgery. Total RNA was isolated from blood cells using the RNX-Plus solution and reverse transcribed into cDNA. Real-time PCR was performed using the 2−ΔΔCT method to calculate relative changes in gene expression by REST software. The Relative Quantitation (RQ) mean was 1.27 with the min. and max. equal to 0.20 and 3.34, respectively. Calculation of patient frequencies in different groups revealed that 17.5% had reduced expression lower than two fold decreases and 15% high expression more than two fold increases, but according to REST software there was no up-regulation or down-regulation compared to normal females. The findings of multiple studies consistent with this study indicate that the ATM gene may play an important role in breast cancer development and progression, and ATM expression is down-regulated in breast cancer tissues. Although, some of the results do not support a suppressor role for ATM in the development of sporadic breast cancer, 17.5% of our patients had under expression of ATM mRNA less than two fold relative to control.
Blood cells; Breast neoplasms; mRNA; Polymerase chain reaction; Real-time
The core domain of the tumour suppressor p53 is of inherently low thermodynamic stability and also low kinetic stability, which leads to rapid irreversible denaturation. Some oncogenic mutations of p53 act by just making the core domain thermosensitive, and so it is the target of novel anti-cancer drugs that bind to and stabilise the protein. Increasing the stability of the unstable core domain has also been crucial for biophysical and structural studies, in which a stabilised quadruple mutant (QM) is currently used. We generated an even more stabilised hexamutant (HM) by making two additional substitutions, Y236F and T253I, to the QM. The residues are found in the more stable paralogs p63 and p73 and stabilise the wild-type p53 core domain. We solved the structure of the HM core domain by X-ray crystallography at 1.75 Å resolution. It has minimal structural changes from QM that affect the packing of hydrophobic core residues of the β-sandwich. The full-length HM was also fully functional in DNA binding. HM was more stable than QM at 37°C. Anomalies in biophysics and spectroscopy in urea-mediated denaturation curves of HM implied the accumulation of a folding intermediate, which may be related to those detected in kinetic experiments. The two additional mutations over-stabilise an unfolding intermediate. These results should be taken into consideration in drug design strategies for increasing the stability of temperature-sensitive mutants of p53.
drug design; folding intermediate; p53; protein stability; structure
Cse4p is a structural component of the core centromere of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is a member of the conserved CENP-A family of specialized histone H3 variants. The histone H4 allele hhf1-20 confers defects in core centromere chromatin structure and mitotic chromosome transmission. We have proposed that Cse4p and histone H4 interact through their respective histone fold domains to assemble a nucleosome-like structure at centromeric DNA. To test this model, we targeted random mutations to the Cse4p histone fold domain and isolated three temperature-sensitive cse4 alleles in an unbiased genetic screen. Two of the cse4 alleles contain mutations at the Cse4p-H4 interface. One of these requires two widely separated mutations demonstrating long-range cooperative interactions in the structure. The third cse4 allele is mutated at its helix 2-helix 3 interface, a region required for homotypic H3 fold dimerization. Overexpression of wild-type Cse4p and histone H4 confer reciprocal allele-specific suppression of cse4 and hhf1 mutations, providing strong evidence for Cse4p-H4 protein interaction. Overexpression of histone H3 is dosage lethal in cse4 mutants, suggesting that histone H3 competes with Cse4p for histone H4 binding. However, the relative resistance of the Cse4p-H4 pathway to H3 interference argues that centromere chromatin assembly must be highly regulated.
Deleterious mutations in the RAD51C gene, which encodes a DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair protein, have been reported to confer high-penetrance susceptibility to both breast and ovarian cancer. To confirm this we conducted a mutation screen of the RAD51C gene in 192 probands from high-risk breast and/or ovarian cancer families that do not carry BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. The nine exons of the RAD51C gene containing protein coding sequence were screened for mutations in genomic DNA from family probands by high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis and direct DNA sequencing. Four missense variants, p.Ser364Gly, p.Ala126Thr, p.Val169Ala, and p.Thr287Ala were detected in six patients. The p.Ser364Gly variant is a novel variant predicted to have little influence on RAD51C activity. The p.Ala126Thr and p.Val169Ala variants have been reported to have no association with risk of breast cancer in a case-control study. However, p.Thr287Ala disrupts the DNA repair activity of RAD51C, suggesting some influence on risk. Consistent with published results from similar follow-up studies, we suggest that RAD51C mutations are rare events among high-risk breast cancer and breast/ovarian cancer families. Large population-based studies will be needed to reliably assess the prevalence and penetrance of inactivating mutations in the RAD51C susceptibility gene.
mutation screening; RAD51C; familial breast and ovarian cancer; breast cancer predisposition
Most human cancers contain mutations in the transcription factor p53 and majority of these are missense and located in the DNA binding core domain. In this study, the stabilities of all core domain missense mutations are predicted and are used to infer their likely inactivation mechanisms. Overall, 47.0% non-PRO/GLY mutants are stable (ΔΔG < 1.0 kT) and 36.3% mutants are unstable (ΔΔG > 3.0 kT), 12.2% mutants are with 1.0 kT < ΔΔG < 3.0 kT. Only 4.5% mutants are with no conclusive predictions. Certain types of either stable or unstable mutations are found not to depend on their local structures. Y, I, C, V, F and W (W, R and F) are the most common residues before (after) mutation in unstable mutants. Q, N, K, D, A, S and T (I, T, L and V) are the most common residues before (after) mutation in stable mutants. The stability correlations with sequence, structure, and molecular contacts are also analyzed. No direct correlation between secondary structure and stability is apparent, but a strong correlation between solvent exposure and stability is noticeable. Our correlation analysis shows that loss of protein-protein contacts may be an alternative cause for p53 inactivation. Correlation with clinical data shows that loss of stability and loss of DNA contacts are the two main inactivation mechanisms. Finally, correlation with functional data shows that most mutations which retain functions are stable, and most mutations that gain functions are unstable, indicating destabilized and deformed p53 proteins are more likely to find new binding partners.
PACS codes: 87.14.E-
The mutation of R273→H in the p53 core domain (p53-CD) is one of the most common mutations found in human cancers. Although the 273H p53-CD retains the wild-type conformation and stability, it lacks sequence-specific DNA binding, a transactivation function and growth suppression. However, mutating T284→R in the 273H p53-CD restores the DNA binding affinity, and transactivation and tumour suppressor functions. Since X-ray/NMR structures of DNA-free or DNA-bound mutant p53-CD molecules are unavailable, the factors governing the loss and rescue of sequence-specific DNA binding in the 273H and 273H+284R p53-CD, respectively, are unclear. Hence, we have carried out molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of the wild-type, single mutant and double mutant p53-CD, free and DNA bound, in the presence of explicit water molecules. Based on the MD structures, the DNA-binding free energy of each p53 molecule has been computed and decomposed into component energies and contributions from the interface residues. The wild-type and mutant p53-CD MD structures were found to be consistent with the antibody-binding, X-ray and NMR data. The predicted DNA binding affinity and specificity of both mutant p53-CDs were also in accord with experimental data. The non-detectable DNA binding of the 273H p53-CD is due mainly to the disruption of a hydrogen-bonding network involving R273, D281 and R280, leading to a loss of major groove binding by R280 and K120. The restoration of DNA binding affinity and specificity of the 273H+284R p53-CD is due mainly to the introduction of another DNA-binding site at position 284, leading to a recovery of major groove binding by R280 and K120. The important role of water molecules and the DNA major groove conformation as well as implications for structure-based linker rescue of the 273H p53-CD DNA-binding affinity are discussed.
The plexin family of transmembrane receptors are important for axon guidance, angiogenesis, but also in cancer. Recently, plexin-B1 somatic missense mutations were found in both primary tumors and metastases of breast and prostate cancers, with several mutations mapping to the Rho GTPase Binding Domain (RBD) in the cytoplasmic region of the receptor. Here we present the NMR solution structure of this domain, confirming that the protein has both a ubiquitin-like fold and surface features. Oncogenic mutations T1795A and T1802A are located in a loop region, perturb the average structure locally and have no effect on Rho GTPase binding affinity. Mutations L1815F and L1815P are located at the Rho GTPase binding site and are associated with a complete loss of binding for Rac1 and Rnd1. Both are found to disturb the conformation of the β3-β4 sheet and orientation of surrounding sidechains. The study suggests that the oncogenic behavior of the mutants can be rationalized with reference to the structure of the RhoGTPase binding domain of plexin-B1.
Solution structure; NMR spectroscopy; plexin transmembrane receptor; small GTPases; breast and prostate cancer missense mutations