Tensin3 is an intracellular cytoskeleton-regulating protein, the loss of which is associated with increased cell motility, as has been observed in some human cancers. A novel chromosomal translocation, t(2;7)(p13;p12), present in a patient with a complex syndromic phenotype, directly involves Tensin3 (TNS3) and EXOC6B genes. This translocation could impair the expression of Tensin3 and ExoC6B proteins, and potentially produce two novel fusion transcripts. In the present study, we have investigated the expression and phenotypic features of these potential products in cultured cells from the proband.
Skin fibroblasts isolated from the proband as well as an age-matched control were grown in cell culture. Cells were used for quantitative RT-PCR, western blot and immunofluorescent confocal microscopy, which determined Tensin3 gene and protein expression. Phase-contrast and confocal microscopy additionally revealed cellular phenotype differences. A scratch wound assay monitored by live cell imaging measured cellular migration rates.
The levels of Tensin3 at both mRNA and protein levels were lower in proband cells versus control fibroblasts. Proband cells displayed broader and shorter morphologies versus control fibroblasts, and immunofluorescent staining revealed additional Tensin3 expression along cytoskeletal filaments and the cell periphery only in control fibroblasts. In addition, proband fibroblasts showed a significantly higher migration rate than control cells over 24 h.
The phenotypic changes observed in proband cells may arise from TNS3 haploinsufficiency, causing partial loss of full-length Tensin3 protein. These results further expose a role for Tensin3 in cytoskeletal organisation and cell motility and may also help to explain the syndromic features observed in the patient.