The emerging insights into catalytic or non-catalytic roles of TET proteins in tumors and neural development

Hao Lian, Wen-Bin Li and Wei-Lin Jin _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:64512-64525. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11412

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Hao Lian1, Wen-Bin Li1 and Wei-Lin Jin2,3

1 Department of Oncology, Beijing Shijitan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, P.R. China

2 Institute of Nano Biomedicine and Engineering, Department of Instrument Science and Engineering, Key Laboratory for Thin Film and Microfabrication Technology of Ministry of Education, School of Electronic Information and Electronic Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, P. R. China

3 National Centers for Translational Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, P. R. China

Correspondence to:

Wen-Bin Li, email:

Wei-Lin Jin, email:

Keywords: TET proteins; epigenetics; cancer; neural development; glioma

Received: April 13, 2016 Accepted: August 10, 2016 Published: August 19, 2016


The Ten-eleven translocation (TET) proteins have been recently identified as critical regulators in epigenetic modification, especially in the methylation of cytosine in DNA. TET-mediated DNA oxidation plays prominent roles in a wide variety of physiological and pathological processes, especially in tumor and neural development. TET proteins execute stepwise enzymatic conversion of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), 5-formylcytosine (5fC) and 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC). In addition to the more proverbial enzymatic role of TET proteins, TET proteins also possess non-enzymatic activity, through interacting with some epigenetic modifiers. In this review article, we focus on TET proteins dual activities (catalytic or non-catalytic) in tumor and neural development. Hence, the clarification of TET proteins dual activities will contribute to our further understanding of neural development and may open the possibility of new therapeutic avenues to human tumors.

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