Our previous comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) study revealed a novel amplified region at 15q26 in two cell lines established from diffuse types of gastric cancer (GC), In this amplified region, FES and IGF1R, known targets on 15q26, were located telomeric to the amplicon in the two cell lines, HSC39 and 40A, suggesting that another tumor-associated gene exists in this region. While screening expressed sequence tags (ESTs) for novel genes in this region, we identified the IQGAP1 amplification. IQGAP1 has been reported to encode aras GAP-related protein, and its interaction with cadherin and/or β-catenin induces a dissociation of β-catenin from the cadherin-catenin complex, one of the mechanisms for cell-cell adhesion. Northern and Western blot analyses revealed that amplification of this gene was accompanied by corresponding increases in mRNA and protein expression. Moreover, immunocytochemical staining showed that overexpressed IQGAP1 accumulated at the membrane, suggesting its colocalization with β-catenin. Taken together, these findings suggest that IQGAP1 may be one of the target genes in the 15q26 amplicon correlated with a malignant phenotype of gastric cancer cells, such as diffuse and invasive characteristics, through the disruption of E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell adhesion.
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