Extended structural variation of a pentanucleotide repeat in the GSTP1 gene: characterisation in a normal population and in thyroid and gastric tumours

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The promoter region of the human GSTP1 gene contains a polymorphic short tandem repeat (STR) locus consisting of pentanucleotide repeat units (ATAAA). In this work we report the existence of a total of 26 alleles in a Caucasian population. While differences in size (ranging from one to five base pairs) were responsible for the major variation, in five size-defined classes, two alternative sequences were found. Automatic fragment sizing and sequencing analysis revealed that this polymorphism is of a highly complex nature in contrast with previous reports. A genetic population study was carried out on a random sample from Portugal showing no deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Somatic instability studies were also performed on gastric and thyroid tumours using this STR: no instability was detected in thyroid tumour tissues when compared with their normal counterpart but in gastric tumour tissues microsatellite instability (MSI) was detected in 9.6% of the cases and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) also in 9.6% of the cases studied. The results obtained with GSTP1 in gastric cancer were compared with previously reported data on MSI using BAT-26 and several dinucleotide repeat markers.

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Correspondence to Cíntia Alves.

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  • GSTP1
  • STR
  • polymorphism
  • Portugal
  • cancer
  • instability

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