The LAZ3 gene encodes a novel zinc-finger protein that shares homology with several Drosophila transcription factors. This gene was identified by its disruption in translocations involving chromosome 3q27 in diffuse large-cell lymphomas. To assess the frequency and role of this gene's involvement in lymphomagenesis and tumor progression, we examined a series of 170 cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas of B-cell lineage for LAZ3 gene rearrangement, expression, and mutation. The cases included 35 de novo diffuse aggressive lymphomas (DAL; 19 large-cell, 4 mixed-cell, and 12 large-cell immunoblastic), 52 transformed aggressive lymphomas derived from follicular lymphomas (TFL), 42 indolent follicular lymphomas (FL), 14 mantle cell lymphomas (MCL), and 27 small noncleaved cell lymphomas (SNCL). LAZ3 rearrangements were found in 10 DAL (28.6%), 9 TFL (17.3%), and 6 FL (14.3%), but not in any of the SNCL or MCL. LAZ3 rearrangement was not exclusive of bcl-2 rearrangement. Most rearrangement breakpoints mapped to a 10-kb BamHI-Xba I fragment located 5′ to the LAZ3 coding sequence, consistent with previously reported breakpoint locations. Northern analysis of both rearranged and nonrearranged B-cell lymphoma cases showed similar levels of a transcript of approximately 3.8 kb, indicating that LAZ3 is broadly expressed in B-cell tumors and is not confined to rearranged cases. To investigate whether mutation of the LAZ3 gene might contribute to a potential role for this gene in lymphomagenesis, we screened the coding sequences of 13 rearranged cases, 6 nonrearranged cases, and 13 hematopoietic tumor cell lines. Although three probable polymorphisms were identified, mutations were detected in only 2 rearranged cases. Only 1 of these resulted in an amino acid substitution. Two cell lines (SU-DHL4 and Molt-4) also contained mutations; only one resulted in an amino acid substitution. We conclude (1) that LAZ3 rearrangements occur in a significant fraction of de novo DAL as well as in a smaller subset of indolent and transformed follicular lymphomas; (2) that LAZ3 message is expressed in both rearranged and nonrearranged B-cell lymphomas; and (3) that mutation of the LAZ3 gene does not contribute to its putative oncogenic role in most 3q27 translocated B-cell lymphomas.

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