The General Transcription Apparatus (GTA) comprises more than one hundred proteins, including RNA Polymerases, GTFs, TAFs, Mediator, and cofactors such as heterodimeric NC2. This complexity contrasts with the simple mechanical role that these proteins are believed to perform and suggests a still uncharacterized participation to important biological functions, such as the control of cell proliferation.
To verify our hypothesis, we analyzed the involvement in Neuroblastoma (NB) pathogenesis of GTA genes localized at 1p, one of NB critical regions: through RT-PCR of fifty eight NB biopsies, we demonstrated the statistically significant reduction of the mRNA for NC2β (localized at 1p22.1) in 74% of samples (p = 0.0039). Transcripts from TAF13 and TAF12 (mapping at 1p13.3 and 1p35.3, respectively) were also reduced, whereas we didn't detect any quantitative alteration of the mRNAs from GTF2B and NC2α (localized at 1p22-p21 and 11q13.3, respectively). We confirmed these data by comparing tumour and constitutional DNA: most NB samples with diminished levels of NC2β mRNA had also genomic deletions at the corresponding locus.
Our data show that NC2β is specifically involved in NB pathogenesis and may be considered a new NB biomarker: accordingly, we suggest that NC2β, and possibly other GTA members, are physiologically involved in the control of cell proliferation. Finally, our studies unearth complex selective mechanisms within NB cells.