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A variety of phenotype with R161Q germline mutation of the von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor gene in Japanese kindred

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Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) syndrome is an autosomal dominant neoplastic disorder characterized by hemangioblastomas of the central nervous system and retina, renal cell carcinomas, pheochromocytoma, and islet cell tumors. This syndrome is closely related with the VHL, a tumor suppressor gene, implying that loss of function or inactivating mutations of both alleles or copies of this gene cause tumor formation. The product of the VHL gene, pVHL, is known to be a component of ubiquitin ligase which targets the transcription factor such as hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) for degradation in the presence of oxygen. Different VHL mutations confer different site-specific risks of cancer. However, the precise role of pVHL to develop only some specified tumors, especially pheochromocytoma, is not fully understood. We identified a missense mutation of VHL gene, 695 G↷A (R161Q), in a Japanese kindred with type 2A VHL syndrome. We analysed 16 members of this family and detected the same mutation in 8 individuals. All 5 members with tumors possessed the same mutation. Interestingly, one of the identical twins, who had the same R161Q germline mutation, did not show any visible tumors throughout the body, while another of the twins developed a huge pheochromocytoma and retinal angioma. Moreover, one of the affected members in the kindred developed pancreatic neuro-endocrine tumors without pheochromocytoma in spite of possessing the identical germline mutation of the VHL gene. These findings suggest that there are some other additional factors including environmental exposures to initiate and develop tumor formation in the VHL syndrome although abnormalities of VHL gene might be involved.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Internal Medicine, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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