Initial analysis identified the NPRL2/G21 gene located in 3p21.3C, the lung cancer region, as a strong candidate tumor suppressor gene. Here we provide additional evidence of the tumor suppressor function of NPRL2/G21. The gene-has highly conserved homologs/orthologs ranging from yeast to humans. The yeast ortholog, NPR2, shows three highly conserved regions with 32 to 36% identity over the whole length. By sequence analysis, the main product of NPRL2/G21 encodes a soluble protein that has a bipartite nuclear localization signal, a protein-binding domain, similarity to the MutS core domain, and a newly identified nitrogen permease regulator 2 domain with unknown function. The gene is highly expressed in many tissues. We report inactivating mutations in a variety of tumors and cancer cell lines, growth suppression of tumor cells with tet-controlled NPRL2/G21 transgenes on plastic Petri dishes, and suppression of tumor formation in SCID mice. Screening of 7 renal, 5 lung, and 7 cervical carcinoma cell lines showed homozygous deletions in the 3′ end of NPRL2 in 2 renal, 3 lung, and 1 cervical (HeLa) cell line. Deletions in the 3′ part of NPRL2 could result in improper splicing, leading to the loss of the 1.8 kb functional NPRL2 mRNA. We speculate that the NPRL2/G21 nuclear protein may be involved in mismatch repair, cell cycle checkpoint signaling, and activation of apoptotic pathway(s). The yeast NPR2 was shown to be a target of cisplatin, suggesting that the human NPRL2/G21 may play a similar role. At least two homozygous deletions of NPRL2/G21 were detected in 6 tumor biopsies from various locations and with microsatellite instability. This study, together with previously obtained results, indicates that NPRL2 is a multiple tumor suppressor gene.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research