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MYCN Amplification and ATRX Mutations are Incompatible in Neuroblastoma

Age and stage of disease at diagnosis is associated with outcome in neuroblastoma. A previous study identified ATRX point mutations and in-frame deletions in older patients with stage 4 disease. To validate the frequency of ATRX mutations and assess the relation of mutations and known prognostic variables, we collaborated with the Children’s Oncology Group and sequenced the entire ATRX genomic locus in 475 neuroblastoma tumor samples to validate the frequency of ATRX mutations and assess the relation of mutations and known prognostic variables. Older age at diagnosis, stage 4 disease, and unfavorable histology were significantly associated with mutations in the ATRX gene; MYCN amplification was mutually exclusive from ATRX mutations. To directly test if ATRX mutations and MYCN amplification are incompatible in neuroblastoma, we mutated the ATRX gene in MYCN amplified neuroblastoma cell lines and ectopically expressed MYCN in ATRX mutant neuroblastoma cell lines. Both approaches showed that ATRX and MYCN amplification are incompatible in neuroblastoma in culture and in vivo. To gain a better understanding of the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms of this incompatibility, we performed a series of experiments including telomere analysis, epigenetic profiling, electron microscopic analysis and metabolic profiling. We discovered that induction of MYCN expression in ATRX mutant neuroblastomas cells leads to metabolic reprogramming, mitochondrial dysfunction, increased reactive oxygen species and replicative stress. We propose that this leads to synthetic lethality in ATRX mutant neuroblastomas because of the underlying replicative stress in those cells as a result of dysfunction of this essential histone chaperone.

Click on a Dataset ID in the table below to learn more, and to find out who to contact about access to these data

Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001004429 Illumina HiSeq 2000 121
EGAD00001004559 Illumina HiSeq 2000 24
Publications Citations
MYCN amplification and ATRX mutations are incompatible in neuroblastoma.
Nat Commun 11: 2020 913