Reincke, Martin; Karl, M.; Travis, W.; Chrousos, G. P.
No evidence for oncogenic mutations in guanine nucleotide-binding proteins of human adrenocortical neoplasms.
In: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Vol. 77: pp. 1419-1422
G-Proteins are membrane-bound heterotrimeric polypeptides that couple receptor signals to second messenger systems such as cAMP. Recently, point mutations at 2 codons of the highly preserved alpha-chain of Gs, the adenyl cyclase-stimulating G-protein, were found in GH-secreting pituitary tumors. These mutations resulted in constitutively activated Gs alpha and high intracellular cAMP levels. In addition, point mutations at similar codons of a different G-protein, G(i) alpha 2, were reported in adrenocortical neoplasms, suggesting a potential role of this isoform in the genesis of these tumors. We reevaluated the frequency of constitutively activating point mutations in the alpha- chain of the stimulatory (Gs alpha) and inhibitory (G(i) alpha 2) G- proteins in human adrenocortical tumors. Seven adrenocortical carcinomas, 2 human adrenocortical tumor cell lines, and 11 adrenocortical adenomas were studied. Genomic DNA was purified from either frozen tumor tissue or paraffin-embedded sections. Using specific primers and the polymerase chain reaction, DNA fragments surrounding codons 201 and 227 (Gs alpha) and 179 and 205 (G(i) alpha 2) were amplified and visualized on a 2% agarose gel. In a second asymmetric polymerase chain reaction, using nested primers, single stranded DNA was generated using 1-10 microL of the initial amplification mixture and directly sequenced using the dideoxy chain termination method of Sanger. We found no mutations at codons 201, 227 and 179, 205 of Gs alpha and G(i) alpha 2, respectively, in the tumors studied. We conclude that previously identified oncogenic point mutations in the stimulatory and inhibitory alpha-chain of G-proteins do not appear to be present at high frequency in adrenal neoplasms. Thus, the mechanism(s) of tumorigenesis in these tumors is different from that in GH-secreting adenomas and may involve oncogenic mutations of other cell constituents.