Molecular characterization of a new ALK translocation involving moesin (MSN-ALK) in anaplastic large cell lymphoma

Lab Invest. 2001 Mar;81(3):419-26. doi: 10.1038/labinvest.3780249.


The majority of anaplastic large cell lymphomas (ALCL) are associated with chromosomal abnormalities affecting the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene which result in the expression of hybrid ALK fusion proteins in the tumor cells. In most of these tumors, the hybrid gene comprises the 5' region of nucleophosmin (NPM) fused in frame to the 3' portion of ALK, resulting in the expression of the chimeric oncogenic tyrosine kinase NPM-ALK. However, other variant rearrangements have been described in which ALK fuses to a partner other than NPM. Here we have identified the moesin (MSN) gene at Xq11-12 as a new partner of ALK in a case of ALCL which exhibited a distinctive membrane-restricted pattern of ALK labeling. The hybrid MSN-ALK protein had a molecular weight of 125 kd and contained an active tyrosine kinase domain. The unique membrane staining pattern of ALK is presumed to reflect association of moesin with cell membrane proteins. In contrast to other translocations involving the ALK gene, the ALK breakpoint in this case occurred within the exonic sequence coding for the juxtamembrane portion of ALK. Identification of the genomic breakpoint confirmed the in-frame fusion of the whole MSN intron 10 to a 17 bp shorter juxtamembrane exon of ALK. The breakpoint in der(2) chromosome showed a deletion, including 30 bp of ALK and 36 bp of MSN genes. These findings indicate that MSN may act as an alternative fusion partner for activation of ALK in ALCL and provide further evidence that oncogenic activation of ALK may occur at different intracellular locations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • Base Sequence
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / genetics*
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / pathology
  • Male
  • Microfilament Proteins / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Translocation, Genetic*


  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • moesin
  • ALK protein, human
  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases