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    Folliculin-interacting proteins Fnip1 and Fnip2 play critical roles in kidney tumor suppression in cooperation with Flcn.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2015 Mar 16;112(13):E1624-31. Epub 2015 Mar 16.
    Urologic Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892; Basic Science Program, Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc., Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, Frederick, MD 21702
    Folliculin (FLCN)-interacting proteins 1 and 2 (FNIP1, FNIP2) are homologous binding partners of FLCN, a tumor suppressor for kidney cancer. Recent studies have revealed potential functions for Flcn in kidney; however, kidney-specific functions for Fnip1 and Fnip2 are unknown. Here we demonstrate that Fnip1 and Fnip2 play critical roles in kidney tumor suppression in cooperation with Flcn. We observed no detectable phenotype in Fnip2 knockout mice, whereas Fnip1 deficiency produced phenotypes similar to those seen in Flcn-deficient mice in multiple organs, but not in kidneys. We found that absolute Fnip2 mRNA copy number was low relative to Fnip1 in organs that showed phenotypes under Fnip1 deficiency but was comparable to Fnip1 mRNA copy number in mouse kidney. Strikingly, kidney-targeted Fnip1/Fnip2 double inactivation produced enlarged polycystic kidneys, as was previously reported in Flcn-deficient kidneys. Kidney-specific Flcn inactivation did not further augment kidney size or cystic histology of Fnip1/Fnip2 double-deficient kidneys, suggesting pathways dysregulated in Flcn-deficient kidneys and Fnip1/Fnip2 double-deficient kidneys are convergent. Heterozygous Fnip1/homozygous Fnip2 double-knockout mice developed kidney cancer at 24 mo of age, analogous to the heterozygous Flcn knockout mouse model, further supporting the concept that Fnip1 and Fnip2 are essential for the tumor-suppressive function of Flcn and that kidney tumorigenesis in human Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome may be triggered by loss of interactions among Flcn, Fnip1, and Fnip2. Our findings uncover important roles for Fnip1 and Fnip2 in kidney tumor suppression and may provide molecular targets for the development of novel therapeutics for kidney cancer.

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    Department of Urology, Yokohama City University School of Medicine, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.
    Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome is an autosomal dominantly inherited disease that predisposes patients to develop fibrofolliculoma, lung cysts and bilateral multifocal renal tumors, histologically hybrid oncocytic/chromophobe tumors, chromophobe renal cell carcinoma, oncocytoma, papillary renal cell carcinoma and clear cell renal cell carcinoma. The predominant forms of Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome-associated renal tumors, hybrid oncocytic/chromophobe tumors and chromophobe renal cell carcinoma are typically less aggressive, and a therapeutic principle for these tumors is a surgical removal with nephron-sparing. The timing of surgery is the most critical element for postoperative renal function, which is one of the important prognostic factors for Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome patients. Read More
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    Oncogene 2008 Sep 28;27(40):5339-47. Epub 2008 Jul 28.
    Department of Pathology and Oncology, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Bunkyo-Ku, Tokyo, Japan.
    Birt-Hogg-Dubé (BHD) syndrome is characterized by the development of pneumothorax, hair folliculomas and renal tumors and the responsible BHD gene is thought to be a tumor suppressor. The function of folliculin (Flcn), encoded by BHD, is totally unknown, although its interaction with Fnip1 has been reported. In this study, we identified a novel protein binding to Flcn, which is highly homologous to Fnip1, and which we named FnipL (recently reported in an independent study as Fnip2). Read More
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    Urologic Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20894, United States.
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    Urologic Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
    Birt-Hogg-Dubé (BHD) syndrome is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by cutaneous fibrofolliculomas, pulmonary cysts, and kidney malignancies. Affected individuals carry germ line mutations in folliculin (FLCN), a tumor suppressor gene that becomes biallelically inactivated in kidney tumors by second-hit mutations. Similar to other factors implicated in kidney cancer, FLCN has been shown to modulate activation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Read More