VHL, NF-1, c-Ret, and Succinate Dehydrogenase Subunits B and D act on a developmental apoptotic pathway that is activated when nerve growth factor (NGF) becomes limiting for neuronal progenitor cells and requires the EglN3 prolyl hydroxylase as a downstream effector. Germline mutations of these genes cause familial pheochromocytoma and other neural crest-derived tumors. Using an unbiased shRNA screen we found that the kinesin KIF1Bbeta acts downstream from EglN3 and is both necessary and sufficient for neuronal apoptosis when NGF becomes limiting. KIF1Bbeta maps to chromosome 1p36.2, which is frequently deleted in neural crest-derived tumors including neuroblastomas. We identified inherited loss-of-function KIF1Bbeta missense mutations in neuroblastomas and pheochromocytomas and an acquired loss-of-function mutation in a medulloblastoma, arguing that KIF1Bbeta is a pathogenic target of these deletions.
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