Introduction: Neuregulin 1 (NRG1) has been discovered as the tail moiety of fusion genes with several distinct partner head genes in lung cancers. These fusion genes activate ERBB2/ERBB3 receptor-mediated cell signaling and thereby function as oncogenic drivers. Methods: We have carried out whole-transcriptome sequencing of 100 non-small-cell lung carcinoma tumors and isolated a novel fusion gene consisting of vesicle-associated membrane protein 2 (VAMP2) and NRG1. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and genomic DNA analysis were used to demonstrate interchromosomal translocation. Immunoblotting and soft agar assays were used to examine stimulating activity of the fusion gene through ERBB2/ERBB3 signaling pathway. Results: The most highly expressed splice variant of VAMP2-NRG1 fusion gene was shown to be membrane bound and display EGF-like domain of NRG1 extracellularly. VAMP2-NRG1 promotes anchorage-independent colony formation of H1568 lung adenocarcinoma cells. Ectopic expression of the fusion gene stimulates phosphorylation of ERBB2 and ERBB3 as well as downstream targets, AKT and ERK, confirming activation of the signaling pathway. Conclusion: VAMP2-NRG1 is a novel oncogenic fusion gene representing a new addition to the list of NRG1 fusion genes, which together may form an important diagnostic and clinical category of lung adenocarcinoma cases.
- Fusion gene
- Lung cancer