Rapid testing of candidate oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes in signal transduction and neoplastic transformation

Adv Biol Regul. 2022 Jan:83:100841. doi: 10.1016/j.jbior.2021.100841. Epub 2021 Nov 23.


The COSMIC database (version 94) lists 576 genes in the Cancer Gene Census which have a defined function as drivers of malignancy (oncogenes) or as tumour suppressors (Tier 1). In addition, there are 147 genes with similar functions, but which are less well characterised (Tier 2). Furthermore, next-generation sequencing projects in the context of precision oncology activities are constantly discovering new ones. Since cancer genes differ from their wild-type precursors in numerous molecular and biochemical properties and exert significant differential effects on downstream processes, simple assays that can uncover oncogenic or anti-oncogenic functionality are desirable and may precede more sophisticated analyses. We describe simple functional assays for PTPN11 (protein-tyrosine phosphatase, non-receptor-type 11)/SHP2 mutants, which are typically found in RASopathies and exhibit potential oncogenic activity. We have also designed a functional test for lysyl oxidase (LOX), a prototypical class II tumour suppressor gene whose loss of function may contribute to neoplastic transformation by RAS oncogenes. Moreover, we applied this test to analyse three co-regulated, RAS-responsive genes for transformation-suppressive activity. The integration of these tests into systems biology studies will contribute to a better understanding of cellular networks in cancer.

Keywords: CYR61; FSTL1; Gene transfer; LOX; RAS/MAPK pathway; RASopathy; RNA interference; SHP2 mutants; THBS1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Oncogenes
  • Precision Medicine
  • Signal Transduction