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

Cancer Biologists Link Tumor Suppressor Gene to Stem Cells

Published: Thursday, March 27, 2014
Last Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014
Bookmark and Share
The findings appear online in the journal eLife.

Just as archeologists try to decipher ancient tablets to discern their meaning, UT Southwestern Medical Center cancer biologists are working to decode the purpose of an ancient gene considered one of the most important in cancer research.

The p53 gene appears to be involved in signaling other cells instrumental in stopping tumor development. But the p53 gene predates cancer, so scientists are uncertain what its original function is.

In trying to unravel the mystery, Dr. John Abrams, Professor of Cell Biology at UT Southwestern, and his team made a crucial new discovery - tying the p53 gene to stem cells. Specifically, his lab found that when cellular damage is present, the gene is hyperactive in stem cells, but not in other cells. The findings suggest p53’s tumor suppression ability may have evolved from its more ancient ability to regulate stem cell growth.

“The discovery was that only the stem cells light up. None of the others do. The exciting implication is that we are able to understand the function of p53 in stem cells,” said Dr. Abrams, Chair of the Genetics and Development program in UT Southwestern’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. “We may, in fact, have some important answers for how p53 suppresses tumors.”

p53 is one of the hardest working and most effective allies in the fight against cancer, said Dr. Abrams. It regulates other genes, marshaling them to carry out an untold number of preemptive attacks and obliterate many pre-cancerous cells before they ever pose a threat. In nearly every case where there’s a tumor, p53 is damaged or deranged, strongly suggesting that it is a tumor suppressant.

Stem cells are one of the body’s most useful cells because of their regenerative capabilities. Stem cells produce daughter cells, one that is a stem cell and another that can become virtually any kind of cell that’s needed, such as a blood cell or a kidney cell.

Stem cells have received tremendous attention in cancer research because of the stem cell hypothesis. That hypothesis maintains that malignant tumors are initiated and maintained by a population of tumor cells that have properties similar to adult stem cells.

“What this new finding tells us is that an ancient functionality of p53 was hard-wired into stem cell function,” said Dr. Abrams, senior author. “From the standpoint of trying to decipher cancer biology, that’s a pretty profound observation.”

To study the gene, researchers in Dr. Abrams lab, including Dr. Annika Wylie, postdoctoral research fellow and first author on the paper, developed a transgenic sensor that makes cells glow when they are active in drosophila, or fruit flies. Other UT Southwestern researchers involved included Dr. Michael Buszczak, Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology.


Further Information

Join For Free

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 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,400+ 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

Enzyme Link Between Excessive Heart Muscle Growth, Cancer Growth
Researchers at UTSW have found that the drugs currently used to inhibit these enzymes in cancer may also be effective in treating enlargement of the heart muscle.
Saturday, April 16, 2016
Treatment of Common Prostate Cancer
Researchers at UTSW have found that the prostate cancer treatments suppress immune response and may promote relapse.
Friday, April 08, 2016
A Metabolic Twist that Drives Cancer Survival
A novel metabolic pathway that helps cancer cells thrive in conditions that are lethal to normal cells has been identified.
Friday, April 08, 2016
Novel Metabolic Twist that Drives Cancer Survival
Researchers at CRI at UT Southwestern have identified a novel metabolic pathway that helps cancer cells thrive in conditions that are lethal to normal cells.
Thursday, April 07, 2016
Structure of Crucial Enzyme Identified
Researchers at UTSW have determined the atomic structure of an enzyme that plays an essential role in cell division and better treatment of cancer.
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Promoting Liver Tissue Regeneration
Researchers at CRI have reported that inactivating a certain protein-coding gene promotes liver tissue regeneration in mammals.
Saturday, March 26, 2016
Researchers Find New Cytoplasmic Role
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found new cytoplasmic role for proteins linked to neurological diseases, cancers.
Friday, March 18, 2016
Researchers’ Work Shines LIGHT on how to Improve Cancer Immunotherapy
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have reported a strategy to make a major advancement in cancer treatment.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
CRI Develops Innovative Approach for Identifying Lung Cancer
Institute has developed innovative approach for identifying processes that fuel tumor growth in lung cancer patients.
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
UT Southwestern Scientists Synthesize Nanoparticles
Synthetic nanoparticles to deliver tumor-suppressing therapies to damaged livers.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Tumor-suppressing Gene Works by Restraining Mobile Genetic Elements
Findings from the study leads to new ways of diagnosing and treating cancer.
Saturday, January 23, 2016
UTSW Researchers Identifies How Drugs Alter Pancreatic Cancer Cells
The findings were published in Cell Reports.
Friday, January 22, 2016
Researchers Find a Small Protein that Plays a Big Role in Heart Muscle Contraction
New protein, DWORF, stimulates a calcium-ion pump that controls muscle contraction.
Friday, January 15, 2016
UT Southwestern Scientists Discover a New Role for RNA
Safeguarding chromosome number in human cells, with implications for cancer biology.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
UT Southwestern Scientist Honored as Rising Star in Texas Research
Dr. Joshua Mendell selected as the recipient of the 2016 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Medicine.
Saturday, December 12, 2015
Scientific News
MicroRNA Pathway Could Lead to New Avenues for Leukemia Treatment
Cancer researchers at the University of Cincinnati have found a particular signaling route in microRNA (miR-22) that could lead to targets for acute myeloid leukemia, the most common type of fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
Analysis of Dog Genome will Provide Insight into Human Disease
An important model in studying human disease, the non-coding RNA of the canine genome is an essential starting point for evolutionary and biomedical studies – according to a new study led by The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC).
New Blood Test for The Earlier Diagnosis of Breast Cancer Spread
Researchers at University of Westminster have confirmed that a new blood test can detect if breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
First Gene Therapy Successful Against Human Aging
American woman gets biologically younger after gene therapies.
Targeting an ‘Undruggable’ Cancer Gene
RAS genes are mutated in more than 30 percent of human cancers and represent one of the most sought-after cancer targets for drug developers.
Altered Metabolism of Four Compounds Drives Glioblastoma Growth
Findings suggest new ways to treat the malignancy, slow its progression and reveal its extent more precisely.
Improving Engineered T-Cell Cancer Treatment
Purdue University researchers may have figured out a way to call off a cancer cell assassin that sometimes goes rogue and assign it a larger tumor-specific "hit list."
Uncovering How Some Breast Cancers Resist Treatment
A targeted therapy for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), the most aggressive form of breast cancer, has shown potential promise in a recently published study.
Characterizing Cancerous Genomic Variations
Tested on large tumor genomics database, REVEALER method allows researchers to connect genomics to cell function.
Activating Cancer-Killing Immune Cells
A UCL research team have discovered that cutting off a sleep-switch on immune cells inside a tumour wakes up the cells and enables the immune system to hunt down and destroy cancer.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
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
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,400+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!