Heterozygous disruption of the Men1 gene predisposes mice to the development of multiple endocrine tumors, accurately mimicking the human MEN1 cancer predisposition syndrome. Additionally, Men1+/– mice frequently develop sex cord adenomas. The mechanism underlying the susceptibility of these mice to sex cord tumor development has not been fully determined, but data suggest it may involve transcriptional regulation of key growth promoting/repressing genes. To identify potential menin‐regulated genes that may be important for tumor suppression in sex cord cells, we compared the global gene expression profiles of testis and ovary adenomas with other endocrine tumors of the pancreas and pituitary from Men1 heterozygous mice and with control tissues. Gonadal tumors clustered separately from pancreas and pituitary tumors with only a few genes (e.g., Cdkn2c) commonly dysregulated in all tumor types. Testis and ovary tumors displayed a higher level of transcriptional similarity to each other than they did to their respective control tissues. Among genes that had decreased expression in tumors was significant over‐representation of genes associated with the TGF‐β, hedgehog and Wnt signaling, indicating that loss of menin function affects these pathways at the level of transcription. Aberrant protein expression in Leydig and granulosa cells of 2 transcriptionally dysregulated gene products, Gata6 and Csf1r were confirmed by immunohistochemistry. We propose that sex cord tumor susceptibility in Men1+/– mice involves deregulated cell proliferation due to dysregulation of multiple cell growth regulating genes including: reduced Cdkn2c transcription, loss of TGF‐β pathway tumor suppressor function (e.g., Gata6) and transcriptional activation of Csf1r.
- knockout mice
- multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1
- Gata6, Csf1r
- regulation of transcription