Analysis of p73 expression pattern in acute myeloid leukemias: lack of ΔN-p73 expression is a frequent feature of acute promyelocytic leukemia
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p73, the homologue of p53, is a nuclear protein whose ectopic expression, in p53+/+ and p53-/- cells, recapitulates the most well-characterized p53 effects, such as growth arrest, apoptosis and differentiation. Unlike p53, which is mutated in half of human cancers, p73 is rarely mutated. However, altered expression of the p73 gene has been reported in neuroblastoma, lung cancer, prostate cancer and renal cell carcinoma. To investigate the potential involvement of p73 in acute myeloid leukemias (AMLs), we analyzed 71 samples from AML patients for the expression pattern of N-terminal transactivation-p73alpha (TA-p73alpha), its spliced isoforms and N-terminal-deleted-p73 transcripts (DeltaN-p73). We detected p73 gene expression in AML irrespective of FAB (French-American-British) subtypes. Notably, the analysis of DeltaN-p73 expression, which has been reported to inactivate both p53 and p73 antitumor effects, revealed a rather peculiar pattern. In fact, DeltaN-p73 transcript and protein were detectable in 27/28 (96.4%) cases of M0, M1, M2, M4, M5 and M6 AML and in 13/41 (31.7%) cases of PML-RARalpha-positive M3 AML (P<0.01). Thus, the distinct gene expression profile of p73 further supports the notion that acute promyelocytic leukemia is a biologically different subset of AML.
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