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The tissue-specific translation elongation factor eEF1A2 is a potential oncogene that is overexpressed in human ovarian cancer. eEF1A2 is highly similar (98%) to the near-ubiquitously expressed eEF1A1 (formerly known as EF1-alpha) making analysis with commercial antibodies difficult. We wanted to establish the expression pattern of eEF1A2 in ovarian cancer of defined histological subtypes at both the RNA and protein level, and to establish the mechanism for the overexpression of eEF1A2 in tumours. We show that while overexpression of eEF1A2 is seen at both the RNA and protein level in up to 75% of clear cell carcinomas, it occurs at a lower frequency in other histological subtypes. The copy number at the EEF1A2 locus does not correlate with expression level of the gene, no functional mutations were found, and the gene is unmethylated in both normal and tumour DNA, showing that overexpression is not dependent on genetic or epigenetic modifications at the EEF1A2 locus. We suggest that the cause of overexpression of eEF1A2 may be the inappropriate expression of a trans-acting factor. The oncogenicity of eEF1A2 may be related either to its role in protein synthesis or to potential non-canonical functions.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





1613 - 1620


Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell, DNA Methylation, Epigenesis, Genetic, Female, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, HL-60 Cells, HeLa Cells, Humans, Ovarian Neoplasms, Peptide Elongation Factor 1, Tumor Cells, Cultured