Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Genomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Major Cancer Protein Amplifies Global Gene Expression, NIH Study Finds

Published: Monday, October 01, 2012
Last Updated: Sunday, September 30, 2012
Bookmark and Share
NIH study found that MYC protein boosts the expression of genes that are already turned on.

Scientists may have discovered why a protein called MYC can provoke a variety of cancers. Like many proteins associated with cancer, MYC helps regulate cell growth.

A study carried out by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and colleagues found that, unlike many other cell growth regulators, MYC does not turn genes on or off, but instead boosts the expression of genes that are already turned on.

These findings, which will be published in Cell on Sept. 28, could lead to new therapeutic strategies for some cancers.

"We carried out a highly sophisticated analysis of MYC activity in cells, but came away with a simple rule. MYC is not a power switch but a universal amplifier," said co-lead study author Keji Zhao, Ph.D., director of the Systems Biology Center at the NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Zhao continued, "This discovery offers a unifying idea of how and why abnormal levels of MYC are found in so many different cancer types, such as breast cancer, lung cancer, and several blood cancers."

"MYC is much like the volume control of a music player," added co-lead David Levens, M.D., Ph.D., a senior investigator in the Laboratory of Pathology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), also part of NIH.

Levens continued, "If you're listening to opera, for example, adding more MYC will make the opera louder, but it won't change the program to rap. And if you have only silence, MYC will just give you more silence."

Both researchers noted that this new understanding of MYC function could influence future treatment efforts for MYC-associated tumors.

They suggest that trying to limit MYC activity, or turning down the volume just the right amount, would be a better strategy than using targeted chemotherapy to try to eliminate all MYC activity.

MYC aids in cell activation, a process in which cells mature and divide quickly. During an immune response, for example, white blood cells are activated to help fight infections.

If activation isn't properly regulated, then cells can start growing out of control and result in cancer.

Researchers have known that abnormally high levels of MYC can lead to cancer, but until now, no one had been able to explain how it can lead to so many different cancers.

Zhao, Levens, and their colleagues used a specially designed fluorescent protein that allowed them to track MYC in white blood cells in a lab dish.

They chose white blood cells, specifically B cells and T cells that fight infections, because they are frequently affected by abnormal MYC and can transform into lymphoma and myeloma cells.

The team exposed the B and T cells to foreign toxins to stimulate an immune response and activate the fluorescent MYC.

The researchers could then examine the cells at different time points and see which genes the MYC proteins seemed to affect.

The analysis revealed that MYC didn't prefer any specific type of gene. Instead, MYC proteins were present at nearly every gene that was already expressed, or turned on.

The researchers also noticed that the amount of MYC at each expressed gene correlated with how active that gene was prior to immune stimulation.

The more active the gene, the more MYC gathered there. MYC appeared to amplify productivity relative to the initial expression levels where it gave a small boost to genes with low activity and a big boost to genes with high activity.

The researchers validated the idea of MYC as a universal amplifier by developing a set of B cells that did not produce functional MYC.

When they were stimulated, the total cellular amount of RNA - an indicator of how much protein is being made - did not rise. When normal B cells were activated, the total cellular RNA did rise.

The research team then conducted the same analysis in embryonic stem cells and got similar results.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Cellular Factors that Shape the 3D Landscape of the Genome Identified
Researchers have identified 50 cellular factors required for the proper 3D positioning of genes by using novel large-scale imaging technology.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Nuclear Process in the Brain That May Affect Disease Uncovered
Scientists have shown that the passage of molecules through the nucleus of a star-shaped brain cell, called an astrocyte, may play a critical role in health and disease.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Tell-tale Biomarker Detects Early Breast Cancer in NIH-funded Study
The study published online in the issue of Nature Communications.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Scientists Adopt New Strategy to Find Huntington’s Disease Therapies
Large, international NIH-supported study uses precision medicine to tackle neurological disorders.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Study Shows Promise of Precision Medicine for Most Common Type of Lymphoma
The study appeared online July 20, 2015, in Nature Medicine.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
NIH Study Identifies Gene Variant Linked to Compulsive Drinking
Mice carrying the Met68BDNF gene variant would consume excessive amounts of alcohol.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
In Blinding Eye Disease, Trash-Collecting Cells Go Awry, Accelerate Damage
NIH research points to microglia as potential therapeutic target in retinitis pigmentosa.
Friday, July 03, 2015
Potential Therapeutic for Blinding Eye Disease
NIH research points to microglia as potential therapeutic target in retinitis pigmentosa.
Thursday, July 02, 2015
NCI-MATCH Trial will Link Targeted Cancer Drugs to Gene Abnormalities
Precision medicine trial will open to patient enrollment in July.
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
A New Role for Zebrafish: Larger Scale Gene Function Studies
A relatively new method of targeting specific DNA sequences in zebrafish could dramatically accelerate the discovery of gene function and the identification of disease genes in humans.
Monday, June 08, 2015
NIH Researchers Pilot Predictive Medicine by Studying Healthy People’s DNA
New study sequence the genomes of healthy participants to find “putative,” or presumed, mutations.
Friday, June 05, 2015
Linking Targeted Cancer Drugs to Gene Abnormalities
Investigators at the NIH have announced a series of clinical trials that will study drugs or drug combinations that target specific genetic mutations.
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
Scientists Create Mice with a Major Genetic Cause of ALS and FTD
NIH-funded study provides new platform for testing treatments for several neurodegenerative disorders.
Friday, May 22, 2015
Mice With a Major Genetic Cause of ALS and FTD Created
NIH-funded study provides new platform for testing treatments for several neurodegenerative disorders.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
New Insights into How DNA Differences Influence Gene Activity, Disease Susceptibility
NIH-funded pilot study provides a new resource about variants across the human genome.
Friday, May 08, 2015
Scientific News
Poor Survival Rates in Leukemia Linked to Persistent Genetic Mutations
For patients with an often-deadly form of leukemia, new research suggests that lingering cancer-related mutations – detected after initial treatment with chemotherapy – are associated with an increased risk of relapse and poor survival.
Searching Big Data Faster
Theoretical analysis could expand applications of accelerated searching in biology, other fields.
Growing Hepatitis C in the Lab
Recent discovery allows study of naturally occurring forms of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the lab.
Inciting an Immune Attack on Cancer Cells
A new minimally invasive vaccine that combines cancer cells and immune-enhancing factors could be used clinically to launch a destructive attack on tumors.
Reprogramming Cancer Cells
Researchers on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus have discovered a way to potentially reprogram cancer cells back to normalcy.
Genetic Overlapping in Multiple Autoimmune Diseases May Suggest Common Therapies
CHOP genomics expert leads analysis of genetic architecture, with eye on repurposing existing drugs.
Surprising Mechanism Behind Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Uncovered
Now, scientists at TSRI have discovered that the important human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, develops resistance to this drug by “switching on” a previously uncharacterized set of genes.
How DNA ‘Proofreader’ Proteins Pick and Edit Their Reading Material
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have discovered how two important proofreader proteins know where to look for errors during DNA replication and how they work together to signal the body’s repair mechanism.
Fat in the Family?
Study could lead to therapeutics that boost metabolism.
Tissue Bank Pays Dividends for Brain Cancer Research
Checking what’s in the bank – the Brisbane Breast Bank, that is – has paid dividends for UQ cancer researchers.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!