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Sporn, Jung (2012) Differential regulation and predictive potential of MacroH2A1 isoforms in colon cancer The American journal of pathology 180(6) 2516-26


Histone variant macroH2A1 has two splice isoforms, macroH2A1.1 and macroH2A1.2, with tissue- and cell-specific expression patterns. Although macroH2A1.1 is mainly found in differentiated, nonproliferative tissues, macroH2A1.2 is more generally expressed, including in tissues with ongoing cell proliferation. Consistently, studies in breast and lung cancer have demonstrated a strong correlation between macroH2A1.1 levels and proliferation, which is not the case for macroH2A1.2. This is the first study to assess the differential regulation and predictive potential of macroH2A1 isoforms in colon cancer. We found that macroH2A1.1 mRNA was down-regulated in primary colorectal cancer samples compared to matched normal colon tissue, whereas macroH2A1.2 was up-regulated. At the protein level, down-regulation of macroH2A1.1 correlated significantly with patient outcome (P = 0.0012), and loss of macroH2A1.1 was associated with a worse outcome. Over the course of Caco-2 cell differentiation, macroH2A1.1 was up-regulated at both the RNA and protein levels, whereas macroH2A1.2 was slightly down-regulated at the RNA level and stable at the protein level. These changes were accompanied by an antiproliferative phenotype exhibiting features of cellular senescence. Loss of macroH2A1.1 in vitro was characterized by a phenotype associated with cell growth and metastasis. These data demonstrate that macroH2A1 isoforms are differentially regulated in colon cancer, reflecting the degree of cellular differentiation. Notably, macroH2A1.1 expression predicts survival in colon cancer, thus identifying macroH2A1.1 as a novel colon cancer biomarker.


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