JOURNAL ARTICLE

The modifier role of RET-G691S polymorphism in hereditary medullary thyroid carcinoma: functional characterization and expression/penetrance studies

Carla Colombo, Emanuela Minna, Maria Grazia Rizzetti, Paola Romeo, Daniele Lecis, Luca Persani, Piera Mondellini, Marco A Pierotti, Angela Greco, Laura Fugazzola, Maria Grazia Borrello
Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 2015, 10: 25
25887804

BACKGROUND: Hereditary medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is caused by germ-line gain of function mutations in the RET proto-oncogene, and a phenotypic variability among carriers of the same mutation has been reported. We recently observed this phenomenon in a large familial MTC (FMTC) family carrying the RET-S891A mutation. Among genetic modifiers affecting RET-driven MTC, a role has been hypothesized for RET-G691S non-synonymous polymorphism, though the issue remains controversial. Aim of this study was to define the in vitro contribution of RET-G691S to the oncogenic potential of the RET-S891A, previously shown to harbour low transforming activity.

METHODS: The RET-S891A and RET-G691S/S891A mutants were generated by site-directed mutagenesis, transiently transfected in HEK293T cells and stably expressed in NIH3T3 cells. Their oncogenic potential was defined by assessing the migration ability by wound healing assay and the anchorage-independent growth by soft agar assay in NIH3T3 cells stably expressing either the single or the double mutants. Two RET-S891A families were characterised for the presence of RET-G691S.

RESULTS: The functional studies demonstrated that RET-G691S/S891A double mutant displays a higher oncogenic potential than RET-S891A single mutant, assessed by focus formation and migration ability. Moreover, among the 25 RET-S891A carriers, a trend towards an earlier age of diagnosis was found in the MTC patients harboring RET-S891A in association with RET-G691S.

CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that the RET-G691S non-synonymous polymorphism enhances in vitro the oncogenic activity of RET-S891A. Moreover, an effect on the phenotype was observed in the RET-G691S/S891A patients, thus suggesting that the analysis of this polymorphism could contribute to the decision on the more appropriate clinical and follow-up management.

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