The high-mobility group AT-hook 2 (HMGA2) protein is a member of the high-mobility group family of the DNA-binding architectural factors and participates in the conformational regulation of active chromatin on its specific downstream target genes. HMGA2 is expressed in the undifferentiated mesenchyme and is undetectable in their differentiated counterparts, suggesting its functional importance in mesenchymal cellular proliferation and differentiation. Interestingly, it is a frequent target of chromosomal translocations in several types of human benign differentiated mesenchymal tumors, including lipomas, fibroadenomas of the breast, salivary gland adenomas, and endometrial polyps. The translocations lead to a variety of HMGA2 transcripts, which range from wild-type, truncated, and fusion mRNA species. However, it is not clear whether alteration of the HMGA2 transcript is required for its tumorigenic potential. To determine whether misexpression of HMGA2 in differentiated mesenchymal cells is sufficient to cause tumorigenesis, we produced transgenic mice that misexpressed full-length or truncated human HMGA2 transcript under the control of the differentiated mesenchymal cell (adipocyte)-specific promoter of the adipocyte P2 (Fabp4) gene. Expression of the full-length HMGA2 transgene was observed in a number of tissues, which produced neoplastic phenotype, including fibroadenomas of the breast and salivary gland adenomas. Furthermore, transgenic misexpression of the truncated version of HMGA2, containing only the three DNA-binding domains, produced similar phenotypes. These results show that misexpression of HMGA2 in a differentiated mesenchymal cell is sufficient to cause mesenchymal tumorigenesis and is independent of the nature of the HMGA2 transcript that results from chromosomal translocations observed in humans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research