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A novel germline mutation in the POT1 gene predisposes to familial non-medullary thyroid cancer

By Aayushi Srivastava, Beiping Miao, Diamanto Skopelitou, Varun Kumar, Abhishek Kumar, Nagarajan Paramasivam, Elena Bonora, Kari Hemminki, Asta Försti, Obul Reddy Bandapalli

Posted 29 Mar 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.23.004663

Non-medullary thyroid cancer (NMTC) is a common endocrine malignancy with a genetic basis that has yet to be unequivocally established. In a recent whole genome sequencing study of five families with recurrence of NMTCs, we shortlisted promising variants with the help of bioinformatics tools. Here, we report in silico analyses and in vitro experiments on a novel germline variant (p.V29L) in the highly conserved oligonucleotide/oligosaccharide binding domain of the Protection of Telomeres 1 (POT1) gene in one of the families. The results showed that the variant demonstrates a reduction in telomere-bound POT1 levels in the mutant protein as compared to its wild-type counterpart. HEK293Tcells carrying POT1V29L showed increased telomere length in comparison to wild type cells, strongly suggesting that the mutation causes telomere dysfunction and may play a role in predisposition to NMTC in this family. This study reports the first germline POT1 mutation in a family with a predominance of thyroid cancer, thereby expanding the spectrum of cancers associated with mutations in the shelterin complex.

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