In sporadic ovarian cancer, we have previously reported allele loss at D6S193 (62%) on chromosome 6q27, which suggested the presence of a putative tumour suppressor gene. Based on our data and that from another group, the minimal region of allele loss was between D6S264 and D6S149 (7.4 cM). To identify the putative tumour suppressor gene, we established a physical map initially with YACs and subsequently with PACs/BACs from D6S264 to D6S149. To accelerate the identification of genes, we sequenced the entire contig of approximately 1.1 Mb. Seven genes were identified within the region of allele loss between D6S264 and D6S149.
The human homologue of unc-93 (UNC93A) in C. elegans was identified to be within the interval of allele loss centromeric to D6S149. This gene is 24.5 kb and comprises of 8 exons. There are two transcripts with the shorter one due to splicing out of exon 4. It is expressed in testis, small intestine, spleen, prostate, and ovary. In a panel of 8 ovarian cancer cell lines, UNC93A expression was detected by RT-PCR which identified the two transcripts in 2/8 cell lines. The entire coding sequence was examined for mutations in a panel of ovarian tumours and ovarian cancer cell lines. Mutations were identified in exons 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8. Only 3 mutations were identified specifically in the tumour. These included a c.452G>A (W151X) mutation in exon 3, c.676C>T (R226X) in exon 5 and c.1225G>A(V409I) mutation in exon 8. However, the mutations in exon 3 and 5 were also present in 6% and 2% of the normal population respectively. The UNC93A cDNA was shown to express at the cell membrane and encodes for a protein of 60 kDa.
These results suggest that no evidence for UNC93A as a tumour suppressor gene in sporadic ovarian cancer has been identified and further research is required to evaluate its normal function and role in the pathogenesis of ovarian cancer.