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Identification of h-TERT Promoter Mutations in Germline DNA from North Indian Lung Carcinoma Patients.

Lung cancer is a severe and the leading cause of cancer related deaths worldwide. The recurrent h-TERT promoter mutations have been implicated in various cancer types. Thus, the present study is extended to analyze h-TERT promoter mutations from the North Indian lung carcinoma patients. Total 20 histopathologically and clinically confirmed cases of lung cancer were enrolled in this study. The genomic DNA was extracted from venous blood and subjected to amplification using appropriate h-TERT promoter primers. Amplified PCR products were subjected for DNA Sanger sequencing for the identification of novel h-TERT mutations. Further, these identified h-TERT promoter mutations were analysed for the prediction of pathophysiological consequences using bioinformatics tools such as Tfsitescan and CIIDER. The average age of patients was 45 ± 8 years which was categorized in early onset of lung cancer with predominance of male patients by 5.6 fold. Interestingly, h-TERT promoter mutations were observed highly frequent in lung cancer. Identified mutations include c. G272A, c. T122A, c. C150A, c. 123 del C, c. C123T, c. G105A, c. 107 Ins A, c. 276 del C corresponding to -168 G>A, -18 T>A, -46 C>A, -19 del C, -19 C>T, -1 G>A, -3 Ins A, -172 del C respectively from the translation start site in the promoter of the telomerase reverse transcriptase gene which are the first time reported in germline genome from lung cancer. Strikingly, c. -18 T>A [C.T122A] was found the most prevalent variant with 75% frequency. Notwithstanding, other mutations viz c. -G168A [c. G272A] and c. -1 G>A [c. G105A] were found to be at 35% and 15% frequency respectively whilst the rest of the mutations were present at 10% and 5% frequency. Additionally, bioinformatics analysis revealed that these mutations can lead to either loss or gain of various transcription factor binding sites in the h-TERT promoter region. Henceforth, these mutations may play a pivotal role in h-TERT gene expression. Taken together, these identified novel promoter mutations may alter the epigenetics and subsequently various transcription factor binding sites which are of great functional significance. Thereby, it is plausible that these germline mutations may involve either as predisposing factor or direct participation in the pathophysiology of lung cancer through entangled molecular mechanisms.

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