Multiple Components of the VHL Tumor Suppressor Complex Are Frequently Affected by DNA Copy Number Loss in Pheochromocytoma

Abstract

Pheochromocytomas (PCC) are rare tumors that arise in chromaffin tissue of the adrenal gland. PCC are frequently inherited through predisposing mutations in genes such as the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor. VHL is part of the VHL elongin BC protein complex that also includes CUL2/5, TCEB1, TCEB2, and RBX1; in normoxic conditions this complex targets hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF1A) for degradation, thus preventing a hypoxic response. VHL inactivation by genetic mechanisms, such as mutation and loss of heterozygosity, inhibits HIF1A degradation, even in the presence of oxygen, and induces a pseudohypoxic response. However, the described <10% VHL mutation rate cannot account for the high frequency of hypoxic response observed. Indeed, little is known about genetic mechanisms disrupting other complex component genes. Here, we show that, in a panel of 171 PCC tumors, 59.6% harbored gene copy number loss (CNL) of at least one complex component. CNL significantly reduced gene expression and was associated with enrichment of gene targets controlled by HIF1. Interestingly, we show that VHL-related renal clear cell carcinoma harbored disruption of VHL alone. Our results indicate that VHL elongin BC protein complex components other than VHL could be important for PCC tumorigenesis and merit further investigation.

DOI: 10.1155/2014/546347

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@inproceedings{Rowbotham2014MultipleCO, title={Multiple Components of the VHL Tumor Suppressor Complex Are Frequently Affected by DNA Copy Number Loss in Pheochromocytoma}, author={David A. Rowbotham and Katey S. S. Enfield and Victor D Martinez and Kelsie L. Thu and Emily A. Vucic and Greg L. Stewart and Kevin L. Bennewith and Wan L. Lam}, booktitle={International journal of endocrinology}, year={2014} }