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Mutational and expressional analysis of BNIP3, a pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 member, in gastric carcinomas

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Lee SH, Jeong EG, Yoo NJ, Lee SH. Mutational and expressional analysis of BNIP3, a pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 member, in gastric carcinomas. APMIS 2007;115:1274–1280.

Cell death deregulation is a hallmark of human cancers. BNIP3 was initially identified as a pro-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family and plays an important role in apoptosis, necrosis and autophagy. The aim of this study was to see whether alterations of BNIP3 protein expression and somatic mutation of the BNIP3 gene are characteristics of human cancers. We analyzed the expression of BNIP3 protein in 60 gastric adenocarcinomas by immunohistochemistry. In addition, we analyzed BNIP3 mutation in the DNA sequences encoding BH3 (Bcl-2 homology3) and TM (transmembrane) domains that are important in the cell death function of BNIP3 by single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) in 48 colorectal, 48 gastric, and 48 breast carcinomas, and 48 acute leukemias. By immunohistochemistry, BNIP3 protein was detected in 40 of the 60 carcinomas (67%). Both early and advanced gastric carcinomas expressed BNIP3. There was no significant association between BNIP3 expression and clinicopathologic characteristics, including invasion, metastasis and stage. In contrast to the cancer cells, epithelial cells in normal gastric mucosa showed no or weak expression of BNIP3. Mutational analysis revealed BNIP3 mutation in neither the BH3 nor the TM domain, suggesting that BNIP3 mutation in these domains is not a direct target of inactivation in gastric, colorectal and breast carcinomas, and acute leukemias. Increased expression of BNIP3 in the malignant gastric epithelial cells compared to the normal mucosal epithelial cells suggests that BNIP3 expression might play a role in gastric carcinoma development.
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Keywords: BNIP3; apoptosis; expression; gastric carcinoma; mutation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-11-01

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