In this issue of the JCI, Ciampi et al. report the identification of a novel oncogene in patients affected by radiation-associated thyroid papillary carcinomas. This oncogene derives from a paracentric inversion of the long arm of chromosome 7, which results in an in-frame fusion of the N-terminus of the A-kinase anchor protein 9 (AKAP9) gene with the C-terminal catalytic domain (exons 9–18) of the serine-threonine kinase BRAF. The resulting AKAP9-BRAF fusion protein shows constitutive kinase activity, and it is able to transmit mitogenic signals to the MAPK pathways and to promote malignant transformation of NIH3T3 cells.
Alfredo Fusco, Giuseppe Viglietto, Massimo Santoro