GIP-dependent Cushing’s syndrome is caused by ectopic expression of glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide receptor (GIPR) in cortisol-producing adrenal adenomas or in bilateral macronodular adrenal hyperplasias. Molecular mechanisms leading to ectopic GIPR expression in adrenal tissue are not known. Here we performed molecular analyses on adrenocortical adenomas and bilateral macronodular adrenal hyperplasias obtained from 14 patients with GIP-dependent adrenal Cushing’s syndrome and one patient with GIP-dependent aldosteronism. GIPR expression in all adenoma and hyperplasia samples occurred through transcriptional activation of a single allele of the GIPR gene. While no abnormality was detected in proximal GIPR promoter methylation, we identified somatic duplications in chromosome region 19q13.32 containing the GIPR locus in the adrenocortical lesions derived from 3 patients. In 2 adenoma samples, the duplicated 19q13.32 region was rearranged with other chromosome regions, whereas a single tissue sample with hyperplasia had a 19q duplication only. We demonstrated that juxtaposition with cis-acting regulatory sequences such as glucocorticoid response elements in the newly identified genomic environment drives abnormal expression of the translocated GIPR allele in adenoma cells. Altogether, our results provide insight into the molecular pathogenesis of GIP-dependent Cushing’s syndrome, occurring through monoallelic transcriptional activation of GIPR driven in some adrenal lesions by structural variations.
Anne-Lise Lecoq, Constantine A. Stratakis, Say Viengchareun, Ronan Chaligné, Lucie Tosca, Vianney Deméocq, Mirella Hage, Annabel Berthon, Fabio R. Faucz, Patrick Hanna, Hadrien-Gaël Boyer, Nicolas Servant, Sylvie Salenave, Gérard Tachdjian, Clovis Adam, Vanessa Benhamo, Eric Clauser, Anne Guiochon-Mantel, Jacques Young, Marc Lombès, Isabelle Bourdeau, Dominique Maiter, Antoine Tabarin, Jérôme Bertherat, Hervé Lefebvre, Wouter de Herder, Estelle Louiset, André Lacroix, Philippe Chanson, Jérôme Bouligand, Peter Kamenický