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Gene of the month: H3F3A and H3F3B


H3F3A and H3F3B genes are located at 1q42.12 and 17q25.1, respectively, and encode identical H3.3 core histone proteins which form part of the histone hetero-octamer complex. Histones function by packaging DNA into small units, the nucleosome, and are highly susceptible to epigenetic post-translational modification. H3 K27 mutations have been shown to inhibit the polycomb repressive complex 2, which is normally involved in epigenetic gene silencing. Mutations in H3F3A and H3F3B are increasingly recognised in a variety of solid tumours. Point mutations in H3F3A have been described in giant cell tumour of bone and paediatric-type diffuse high-grade gliomas. Mutations in H3F3B have been described in chondroblastoma. Loss of trimethylation of H3 K27 is characteristic of most sporadic and radiation-associated malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours. Immunohistochemistry with a variety of novel antibodies directed against specific mutations, as well as loss of H3K27me3 staining, may be useful in specific settings and in diagnostically challenging cases.

  • oncogenes
  • genetics
  • medical oncology

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