HMGA1-pseudogenes and cancer

Marco De Martino, Floriana Forzati, Claudio Arra, Alfredo Fusco and Francesco Esposito _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:28724-28735. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7427

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Marco De Martino1, Floriana Forzati1, Claudio Arra2, Alfredo Fusco1 and Francesco Esposito1

1 Istituto di Endocrinologia ed Oncologia Sperimentale del CNR c/o Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare e Biotecnologie Mediche, Scuola di Medicina e Chirurgia di Napoli, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, Naples, Italy

2 Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Fondazione Pascale, Naples, Italy

Correspondence to:

Francesco Esposito, email:

Alfredo Fusco, email:

Keywords: pseudogenes, HMGA, cancer, ceRNA

Received: November 02, 2015 Accepted: February 05, 2016 Published: February 16, 2016


Pseudogenes are DNA sequences with high homology to the corresponding functional gene, but, because of the accumulation of various mutations, they have lost their initial functions to code for proteins. Consequently, pseudogenes have been considered until few years ago dysfunctional relatives of the corresponding ancestral genes, and then useless in the course of genome evolution. However, several studies have recently established that pseudogenes are owners of key biological functions. Indeed, some pseudogenes control the expression of functional genes by competitively binding to the miRNAs, some of them generate small interference RNAs to negatively modulate the expression of functional genes, and some of them even encode functional mutated proteins. Here, we concentrate our attention on the pseudogenes of the HMGA1 gene, that codes for the HMGA1a and HMGA1b proteins having a critical role in development and cancer progression. In this review, we analyze the family of HMGA1 pseudogenes through three aspects: classification, characterization, and their possible function and involvement in cancer.

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