Research highlight

Telomere protein disrupted in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Nature Genetics

March 18, 2013

Some cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) have acquired mutations that disrupt a protein important for protecting chromosome ends from undergoing rearrangements, reports a study published online this week in Nature Genetics.

CLL affects between one and five per 100,000 adults worldwide. Carlos Lopez-Otin and colleagues analyzed the protein-coding regions of 127 CLL samples from patients and matched normal tissue, with follow-up studies in 214 additional CLL patients. They identified POT1 gene mutations in 3.5% of cases studied. POT1 encodes a member of the shelterin complex, which has an important role in maintaining telomeres, the protective structures present at the ends of chromosomes. These are the first reported mutations in a component of the shelterin complex in human cancer.

doi: 10.1038/ng.2584

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