Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Communities
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

3D Genomics Offers Key to Disease

Published: Thursday, May 01, 2014
Last Updated: Thursday, May 01, 2014
Bookmark and Share
First study to address the value of three-dimensional genome organization in the classification of leukemia.

To solve a puzzle, you need to recognize shapes, patterns and a particular kind of order.  In much the same way, researchers at McGill University have discovered that the 3D shape of a leukemia cell’s genome holds a key to solving the puzzle of human diseases. The researchers report their findings in the open access journal Genome Biology.

McGill professor Josée Dostie, a researcher in the Faculty of Medicine in the department of Biochemistry, focused on the shape made by the region spanning the Homeobox A (HOXA) genes in human cells -- a set of 11 genes encoding proteins that are highly relevant to numerous types of cancers. Dostie and colleagues discovered that the shape of this region of the genome was excellent at indicating the subtype of leukemia it comes from. These initial results suggest that 3D genomics might be a way of improving personalised treatment, though application in the clinic is a long way off.

“I have been interested in understanding the role of genome folding with regards to human health and disease,” says Dostie, who is also a researcher at the Goodman Cancer Research Centre. “My approach uses technologies that detect which piece of DNA is close to which one, such that we can reconstruct how the genome is folded in three dimensions by piecing this information together as if it were a puzzle”.

Dostie and the all-McGill team study the organization of entire genomes and of specific regions relevant to human diseases. The HOXA gene cluster is one of these regions that become improperly regulated in many types of cancers.

“Previous studies have shown that looking at gene expression -- the specific proteins produced by the genes -- is a good predictor of whether patients have leukemia”, says Prof. Mathieu Blanchette, a co-author on the study and an assistant professor at McGill in the School of Computer Science. “We found that different types of leukemia cells also have a distinctive chromatin interaction – how the chromatin that makes up the genome is folded.”

It is not clear at the moment whether the genome shape plays a role in causing the cancer, or whether the cancer causes the genome to change shape. Further studies are needed to determine whether genome shape is as good at indicating other types of cancer.

“Our study validates a new research avenue: the application of 3D genomics for developing medical diagnostics or treatments that could be explored for diseases where current technologies, including gene expression data, have failed to improve patient care,” says Dostie, “While the use of 3D genomics in the clinic is still remote when considering the technical challenges required for translating the information to the bedside, we discovered a new approach for classifying human disease that must be explored further, if only for what it can reveal about how the human genome works.”

The article, Classifying leukemia types with chromatin conformation data, is available to access online in Genome Biology. 

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 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,000+ 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 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

A New Way to Starve Lung Cancer?
Metabolic alterations in lung cancer may open new avenues for treating the disease.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
His and Hers Pain Circuitry in the Spinal Cord
New animal research reveals fundamental sex differences in how pain is processed.
Monday, July 06, 2015
Could Maple Syrup Help Cut Use Of Antibiotics?
Syrup extract found to make antibiotics more effective against bacteria.
Friday, April 17, 2015
Honey, I Shrunk The Ants: How Environment Controls Size
Ground breaking epigenetics research has implications for everything from cancer to farming.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Revolutionary New Probe Zooms In On Cancer Cells
Improves tumour surgeries and extends survival times for brain cancer patients.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Light Shed On Genetic Architecture Of Kidney Cancer
Research reveals link between renal cell carcinoma and exposure to aristolochic acid.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Watching the Hidden Life of Materials
Ultrafast electron diffraction experiments open a new window on the microscopic world.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Mice and Rats Stressed by Male Experimenters
An international team of pain researchers led by scientists at McGill University have found that the gender of the experimenters has a big impact on the stress levels of rodents.
Thursday, May 01, 2014
Researchers Find Influenza has an Achilles’ Heel
The findings pave the way for an urgently needed therapy that is highly effective against the flu virus and potentially other viral infections.
Friday, April 11, 2014
Researchers Find Influenza has an Achilles’ Heel
The findings pave the way for an urgently needed therapy that is highly effective against the flu virus and potentially other viral infections.
Friday, April 11, 2014
Newly Discovered Effects of Vitamin D on Cancer
Vitamin D slows the progression of cells from premalignant to malignant states, keeping their proliferation in check.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
New Hope for Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders
Researchers at McGill University and the University of Montreal uncover a crucial link between protein synthesis and autism spectrum disorders.
Friday, November 23, 2012
Study Reveals Major Genetic Differences between Blood and Tissue Cells
Important questions raised about genetic research based only on blood samples; new treatment in vascular disease foreseen at the same time.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Same Drug, Different Results: MUHC Researcher on the Path to Personalized Medicine
Minor genetic differences between individuals change the effect of a common medication, study shows.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Genetic Breakthrough Supercharges Immunity to Flu and Other Viruses
McGill researchers discover way to boost cells' natural anti-virus defences.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Scientific News
High Throughput Mass Spectrometry-Based Screening Assay Trends
Dr John Comley provides an insight into HT MS-based screening with a focus on future user requirements and preferences.
How a Genetic Locus Protects Adult Blood-Forming Stem Cells
Mammalian imprinted Gtl2 protects adult hematopoietic stem cells by restricting metabolic activity in the cells' mitochondria.
Genetic Basis of Fatal Flu Side Effect Discovered
A group of people with fatal H1N1 flu died after their viral infections triggered a deadly hyperinflammatory disorder in susceptible individuals with gene mutations linked to the overactive immune response, according to a recent study.
New Tech Vastly Improves CRISPR/Cas9 Accuracy
A new CRISPR/Cas9 technology developed by scientists at UMass Medical School is precise enough to surgically edit DNA at nearly any genomic location, while avoiding potentially harmful off-target changes typically seen in standard CRISPR gene editing techniques.
The MaxSignal Colistin ELISA Test Kit from Bioo Scientific
Kit can help prevent the antibiotic apocalypse by keeping last resort drugs out of the food supply.
"Good" Mozzie Virus Might Hold Key to Fighting Human Disease
Australian scientists have discovered a new virus carried by one of the country’s most common pest mosquitoes.
Non-Disease Proteins Kill Brain Cells
Scientists at the forefront of cutting-edge research into neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have shown that the mere presence of protein aggregates may be as important as their form and identity in inducing cell death in brain tissue.
Closing the Loop on an HIV Escape Mechanism
Research team finds that protein motions regulate virus infectivity.
New Class of RNA Tumor Suppressors Identified
Two short, “housekeeping” RNA molecules block cancer growth by binding to an important cancer-associated protein called KRAS. More than a quarter of all human cancers are missing these RNAs.
Potential Treatment for Life-Threatening Viral Infections Revealed
The findings point to new therapies for Dengue, West Nile and Ebola.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
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
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos