Awakening Genes that Suppress Tumors
News Oct 15, 2013
A new study led by a researcher at Yale University has uncovered the pathway through which some of these tumor suppressor genes are inactivated — a finding that could have implications for treatment of certain cancers. The study appears online in the journal Genes and Development, published by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
Focusing in mice on the RAS family of cell-signaling oncoproteins (genes that can turn normal cells into cancerous ones), the research team stopped the RNA transcription process that controls cell growth by either turning it on or off. In doing so, they found that RAS-led silencing occurs through a highly ordered genetic pathway that is continuously functioning, and dependent on many co-factors. They also discovered that the silencing action of this pathway is initiated by a specific DNA-binding protein called ZFP354B, and abetted by modified gene expression.
The team further found that all of these steps were required for the tumor suppressor genes to be silenced. This research could lead to development of therapies that interfere with the silencing in RAS-positive cancers, including pancreatic, colorectal, lung, and thyroid cancer.
“Oncogenic RAS mutations are found in about a third of all human cancers, but there are no current therapies that can effectively treat these cancers,” said first author Narendra Wajapeyee, assistant professor of pathology at Yale School of Medicine and a member of Yale Cancer Center. “We have identified a RAS-regulated pathway that initiates and maintains the epigenetic silencing of tumor suppressor genes, and we are hopeful that many of the components of these pathways can be targeted for providing personalized therapy for RAS-mutant cancers.”
Other authors include Sunil Malonia, Rajendra Palakurthy, and Michael Green of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Mechanism Controlling Multiple Sclerosis Risk IdentifiedNews
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now discovered a new mechanism of a major risk gene for multiple sclerosis (MS) that triggers disease through so-called epigenetic regulation. They also found a protective genetic variant that reduces the risk for MS through the same mechanism.
Antarctic Worm and Machine Learning Help Identify Cerebral Palsy EarlierNews
A research team has released a study in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Bioinformatics showing that DNA methylation patterns in circulating blood cells can be used to help identify spastic cerebral palsy (CP) patients. The technique which makes use of machine learning, data science and even analysis of Antarctic worms, raises hopes for earlier targeted CP therapies.
Ancient Syphilis Genomes Decoded for First TimeNews
Researchers recovered three genomes of the bacterium Treponema pallidum from skeletal remains from colonial-era Mexico, and were able to distinguish the subspecies that causes syphilis from the subspecies that causes yaws. It was not previously thought possible to recover DNA from this bacterium from ancient samples.