Mutation analysis of the 5 ' noncoding regulatory region of the BCL-6 gene in non-Hodgkin lymphoma: evidence for recurrent mutations and intraclonal heterogeneity BLOOD Lossos, I. S., Levy, R. 2000; 95 (4): 1400-1405


The BCL-6 proto-oncogene is involved in the genesis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Rearrangements due to chromosomal translocations and somatic mutations of the 5' noncoding regulatory region of the BCL-6 gene are potential mechanisms for altering its expression in NHL. To further elucidate the nature of the somatic mutations in the regulatory region of this gene, we have studied 10 healthy donors and 11 NHL biopsy samples by extensive molecular cloning and sequencing. In addition, we analyzed the BCL-6 genes of tumor and nontumor cells from 2 of the cases. The germ line sequence of this region was defined, which differs in 7 positions from that previously reported. In addition, 1 polymorphic variation at position 397(G or C) was identified. Deletions, insertions, and repeated substitution mutations were detected among the molecular isolates in 8 tumor specimens, with a mutational incidence ranging from 1.3 x 10(-3) to 1.3 x 10(-2)/bp (base pair). A total of 20 distinct substitution mutations, 1 insertion and 3 deletions were observed. One of these deletion mutations and 2 of the substitutions were observed in more than 1 tumor specimen from different individuals. In 3 tumor samples, identical mutations affecting both alleles were observed. These findings suggest the presence of mutational hot spots and hot specific events, a finding supported by our compilation of previously published data. In 6 samples, the nucleotide sequences showed evidence of intraclonal heterogeneity, consistent with a stepwise ongoing mutational process affecting the BCL-6 gene in the tumor cells. These mutations accumulating in the regulatory region of the BCL-6 gene could play a role in lymphoma progression and in the transformation of follicular lymphomas to more aggressive large cell lymphomas. (Blood. 2000;95:1400-1405)

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