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author:("griseus, P.")
2.  Rescue of human RET gene expression by sodium butyrate: a novel powerful tool for molecular studies in Hirschsprung disease 
Gut  2003;52(8):1154-1158.
Background: The RET gene encodes a tyrosine kinase receptor involved in different human neurocristopathies, such as specific neuroendocrine tumours and Hirschsprung disease (HSCR). Gene expression is developmentally regulated and the RET transcript is undetectable in most adult cells, including lymphocytes. The impossibility of performing functional studies on RET mRNA has to date limited the detection and characterisation of an indefinite proportion of gene anomalies that cannot be identified by conventional DNA genomic screening in HSCR cases.
Aims: Development of a protocol suitable to activate RET expression in RET negative cell lines and therefore to investigate directly RET mRNA, extending the conventional gene mutation analysis to detection of splicing anomalies and impaired expression of the RET gene.
Methods: The effect of sodium butyrate (NaB), a histone deacetylase inhibitor, on rescuing RET expression was tested by one round of reverse transcription- polymerase chain reaction from total RNA of treated lymphoblasts from both HSCR patients and control individuals.
Results: Analysis of RET expression was possible by NaB treatment of RET negative cells, such as lymphoblasts. This treatment allowed us to detect impaired RET expression as well as a splicing defect in two HSCR patients previously believed to be devoid of any gene abnormality.
Conclusions: The full application of the proposed protocol in most of the unexplained HSCR cases will allow us to establish the precise role of RET not only in causing but also in predisposing to HSCR pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC1773746  PMID: 12865274
Hirschsprung disease; RET proto-oncogene; sodium butyrate; molecular screening; expression defects
3.  Specific haplotypes of the RET proto-oncogene are over-represented in patients with sporadic papillary thyroid carcinoma 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2002;39(4):260-265.
Background: Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC), which may be sporadic (95%) or familial (5%), has a prevalence adjusted for age in the general population of 1:100 000. Somatic rearrangements of the RET proto-oncogene are present in up to 66% of sporadic tumours, while they are rarely found in familial cases.
Purpose: In order to determine if some variants of this gene, or a combination of them, might predispose to PTC, we looked for an association of RET haplotype(s) in PTC cases and in controls from four countries matched for sex, age, and population.
Methods: Four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the RET coding sequence were typed and haplotype frequencies were estimated. Genotype and haplotype distributions were compared among these cases and controls.
Results: Ten haplotypes were observed, the seven most frequent of which have been previously described in sporadic Hirschsprung patients and controls. The single locus analyses suggested association of exon 2 and exon 13 SNPs with sporadic PTC. The haplotype analysis showed over-representation of one haplotype in French and Italian sporadic PTC, whereas a different haplotype was significantly under-represented in French familial PTC.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that some variants of RET and some specific haplotypes may act as low penetrance alleles in the predisposition to PTC.
PMCID: PMC1735081  PMID: 11950855
4.  Genetic analysis of lung tumours of non-smoking subjects: p53 gene mutations are constantly associated with loss of heterozygosity at the FHIT locus. 
British Journal of Cancer  1998;78(1):73-78.
Lung cancer is strictly associated with tobacco smoking. Tumours developed in non-smoking subjects account for less than 10% of all lung cancers and show peculiar histopathological features, being prevalently adenocarcinomas. A number of genetic data suggest that their biological behaviour may be different from that of lung tumours caused by smoking, however the number of cases investigated to date is too low to draw definitive conclusions. We have examined the status of p53 and K-ras genes and the presence of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at the FHIT locus in a series of 35 lung adenocarcinomas that developed in subjects who had never smoked. Results were compared with those obtained in a series of 35 lung adenocarcinomas from heavy-smoking subjects. In the group of non-smoking subjects p53 mutations and LOH at the FHIT locus were present in seven (20%) cases, and the two alterations were constantly associated (P < 0.0001), whereas they were not related in the series of carcinomas caused by smoking. In tumours developed in heavy-smoking subjects, the frequency of LOH at the FHIT locus was significantly higher (P = 0.006) than in tumours from non-smoking subjects. The frequency of p53 mutations in adenocarcinomas caused by smoking was not different from that seen in non-smoking subjects. However, in the group of smoking subjects we observed mostly G:C --> T:A transversions, whereas frameshift mutations and G:C --> A:T transitions were more frequently found in tumours from non-smoking subjects. No point mutations of the K-ras gene at codon 12 were seen in subjects who had never smoked, whereas they were present (mostly G:C --> T:A transversions) in 34% of tumours caused by smoking (P = 0.002). Our data suggest that lung adenocarcinomas developed in subjects who had never smoked represent a distinct biological entity involving a co-alteration of the p53 gene and the FHIT locus in 20% of cases.
PMCID: PMC2062949  PMID: 9662254

Results 1-4 (4)