Author(s): Chen J, Li JL, Chen Z, Griffin JD, Wu L
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) arises from multiple organs and accounts for the most common types of salivary gland malignancies. Currently, patients with unresectable and metastatic MEC have poor long-term clinical outcomes and no targeted therapies are available. The majority of MEC tumors contain a t(11;19) chromosomal translocation that fuses two genes, CRTC1 and MAML2, to generate the chimeric protein CRTC1-MAML2. CRTC1-MAML2 displays transforming activity in vitro and is required for human MEC cell growth and survival, partially due to its ability to constitutively activate CREB-mediated transcription. Consequently, CRTC1-MAML2 is implicated as a major etiologic molecular event and a therapeutic target for MEC. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying CRTC1-MAML2 oncogenic action in MEC have not yet been systematically analyzed. Elucidation of the CRTC1-MAML2-regulated transcriptional program and its underlying mechanisms will provide important insights into MEC pathogenesis that are essential for the development of targeted therapeutics. METHODS: Transcriptional profiling was performed on human MEC cells with the depletion of endogenous CRTC1-MAML2 fusion or its interacting partner CREB via shRNA-mediated gene knockdown. A subset of target genes was validated via real-time RT-PCR assays. CRTC1-MAML2-perturbed molecular pathways in MEC were identified through pathway analyses. Finally, comparative analysis of CRTC1-MAML2-regulated and CREB-regulated transcriptional profiles was carried out to assess the contribution of CREB in mediating CRTC1-MAML2-induced transcription. RESULTS: A total of 808 differentially expressed genes were identified in human MEC cells after CRTC1-MAML2 knockdown and a subset of known and novel fusion target genes was confirmed by real-time RT-PCR. Pathway Analysis revealed that CRTC1-MAML2-regulated genes were associated with network functions that are important for cell growth, proliferation, survival, migration, and metabolism. Comparison of CRTC1-MAML2-regulated and CREB-regulated transcriptional profiles revealed common and distinct genes regulated by CRTC1-MAML2 and CREB, respectively. CONCLUSION: This study identified a specific CRTC1-MAML2-induced transcriptional program in human MEC cells and demonstrated that CRTC1-MAML2 regulates gene expression in CREB-dependent and independent manners. Our data provide the molecular basis underlying CRTC1-MAML2 oncogenic functions and lay a foundation for further functional investigation of CRTC1-MAML2-induced signaling in MEC initiation and maintenance.
This article was published in BMC Cancer
and referenced in Journal of Medical & Surgical Pathology