Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Molecular & Clinical Diagnostics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Super-Enhancers Seen as ‘Rosetta Stone’ for Dialog Between Genes and Disease

Published: Monday, October 21, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, October 21, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Regulatorsthat control cell identity found to be enriched in mutated regions of genome.

Having recently discovered a set of powerful gene regulators that control cell identity in a few mouse and human cell types, Whitehead Institute scientists are now showing that these regulators—which they named “super-enhancers”—act across a vast array of human cell types and are enriched in mutated regions of the genome that are closely associated with a broad spectrum of diseases.

The findings, published online today by the journal Cell, suggest that these super-enhancers, first described in Cell several months ago by Whitehead Member Richard Young, could ultimately play important roles in disease diagnostics and therapeutics.

In April, Young reported that while the total number of genetic control elements is likely in the millions, only a few hundred super-enhancers regulate the key genes that give each cell its unique properties and functions. At the time, Young hinted that the discovery, which was based on work primarily in embryonic stem cells, would help to solve the regulatory circuitry of all human cells. This latest research represents a significant step toward that goal, producing a catalog of super-enhancers in nearly 100 human cell and tissue types.

“We’ve gone from a few cells to a broad swath of human cell types to create this resource and make it available to the biomedical research community,” says Young, who is also a professor of biology at MIT.

Young notes that the striking finding of the new study is that beyond their roles in control of healthy cells, super-enhancers are involved in regulating the function—and dysfunction—of diseased cells.

“We were surprised that for so many different diseases, mutations associated with the disease occur in super-enhancers” says postdoctoral scientist Brian Abraham, an author of the study. Indeed, he and other researchers in Young’s lab found in disease-relevant cell types genetic mutations associated with Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and many autoimmune diseases in genomic regions under the control of specific super-enhancers.

The researchers also found super-enhancers operating in particularly insidious fashion across a broad spectrum of cancers, observing cancer cells assembling their own super-enhancers to overproduce malevolent oncogenes that drive such cancer hallmarks as hyperproliferation, invasion, and metastasis. Young believes that identifying, mapping, and disrupting super-enhancers could alter the way cancers are managed in the clinic.

“When we focus on personalized medicine for cancer patients, super-enhancers could serve as useful biomarkers for tracking and understanding the evolution of a person’s cancer,” says Young. “Ultimately, super-enhancers may well become important targets for therapeutic intervention.”


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 4,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,300+ 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

Imaging Immunity
Noninvasive imaging of immune system detects tumors, could monitor therapeutic response.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Scientific News
Accelerating the Detection of Foodborne Bacterial Outbreaks
The speed of diagnosis of foodborne bacterial outbreaks could be improved by a new technique developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Cancer Gene Predicts Treatment Response in Leukaemia
Study indicates the patients suffering from a lethal for of acute myeloid leukemia may live longer when receiving milder chemotherapy drugs.
New Diagnostic Tool for Familial Mediterranean Fever
A new tool developed by researchers at VIB and Ghent University could improve the process of diagnosing Familial Mediterranean Fever.
'Lab on the Skin' for Sweat Analysis
Northwestern University researchers develop a low-cost wearable electronic device that collects and analyzes sweat for health monitoring.
Molecular Signature for Aggressive Brain Tumor Uncovered
Researchers have identified genetic mutations in a highly agressive brain cancer that distinguishes the agressive, from the benign forms of the cancer.
Malaria Parasite Evades Rapid Test Detection in Children
A study at the University of North Carolina found that gene deletion poses a threat to Malaria eradication efforts.
Novel Urine Test to Predict High-Risk Cervical Cancer
Preliminary studies affirm accuracy and potential cost savings to screen for virus-caused malignancy.
GFC Diagnostics Wins Longitude Prize Discovery Award
The global award was won for the development of a cheap, quick and simple MRSA Test.
Understanding Circulating Tumour Cells
Research team develops new tool to track traveling cancer cells in the bloodstream.
Blood Glucose Monitoring Device for Diabetes
Novel breathalyzer offers alternative to finger stick testing for people with type 1 and 2 diabetes.
Skyscraper Banner

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
4,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,300+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!