Navigation Links
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory scientists trace a novel way cells are disrupted in cancer

A research team at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) is clarifying a previously unappreciated way that cellular processes are disrupted in cancer.

Last year, scientists from the same CHSL team discovered that a "splicing factor" called SF2/ASF--a protein that changes the instructions for how other proteins are assembled--can induce tumors in cell cultures. The team's newly published results show that, in ways not yet fully understood, this same splicing factor acts on a group of other molecules that has long been known to affect cancer.

A Cascade of Molecular Interactions Leading to Cancer

Understanding such complex molecular interactions may one day lead to new approaches to cancer treatment. Cancers are enormously complex, and eventually, in most instances, they find ways of disrupting a large fraction of cellular processes. To untangle and reverse the changes, researchers seek to identify sequences of events in which molecules each affect one another in turn, ultimately inducing cancer-cell behavior.

For example, one protein may affect another by chemically disabling it, or by slowing the gene expression that produces it from the "instructions" contained in DNA. A drug that blocks any step in such a "pathway" has a chance to slow or prevent the disease.

Until recently, however, cancer researchers have paid scant attention to factors that affect others through "alternative splicing," a mechanism that changes how DNA instructions are cut and pasted together at the level of RNA intermediaries to form final templates for the production of proteins.

"Splicing is a critical step in gene expression," said Adrian R. Krainer, Ph.D., a CSHL professor who is an expert on RNA splicing. "Like other steps in gene expression, it seems to malfunction in cancer." Last year, Krainer and his colleagues found that several known splicing factors are present at higher-than-normal levels in some tumors. For example, a factor known as SF2/ASF was elevated in more than 20% of lung and colon tumors. Moreover, laboratory cultures of mouse or rat cells developed characteristics of tumors when they were programmed to make higher-than-normal levels of this splicing factor.

Changes in the PI3K-mTOR Pathway

In the new research, Krainer's team looked for specific molecules whose concentrations or enzymatic activities changed in cells in which SF2/ASF induced cancer. They found changes in some proteins in a group known as the PI3K-mTOR pathway, which is well known for its involvement in cancers.

The team speculated that SF2/ASF, as it influences how a gene's instructions are translated into protein, might cause a protein to be assembled without a key section that is normally modified by other proteins in the pathway. Krainer cautioned that the splicing factor may act on other proteins or in other ways in the cell, so further research is needed. Nonetheless, the team's research suggests that measuring SF2/ASF levels could eventually lead to a way to identify patients who will respond to existing drugs that block the PI3K-mTOR pathway.


Contact: Peter Tarr
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Related biology news :

1. Springer bee expert Juergen Tautz wins prize for public communication
2. Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging to be published by Springer
3. Springer editor Toshisada Nishida winner of 2 prestigious primatology awards
4. Cold Spring Harbor Protocols highlights gene silencing, cancer cell biology methods
5. 2 Springer authors win important awards from the Ecological Society of America
6. A field guide to the landscape of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
7. Watson-inspired innovation in research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
8. Springer editor honored with top environmental prize
9. Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features methods for analyzing genomes and plant cells
10. Mice mothers devote energies to offspring when life is threatened
11. Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features classic approaches for analyzing chromosomes
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/26/2015)...  Delta ID Inc., a company focused on bringing ... devices, announced its ActiveIRIS® technology powers the iris recognition ... by NTT DOCOMO, INC in Japan ... to include iris recognition technology, after a very successful ... May 2015, world,s first smartphone to have this capability. ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... and GOLETA, California , ... HFES conference, BIOPAC and SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) announce a ... eye tracking data captured during interactive real-world tasks ... and play integration of their established wearable solutions for ... to synchronize gaze behavior captured with SMI Eye ...
(Date:10/22/2015)... SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 22, 2015  Synaptics (NASDAQ: SYNA ... results for its first quarter ended September 30, 2015. ... first quarter of fiscal 2016 grew 66 percent over the comparable ... quarter of fiscal 2016 was $23.8 million, or $0.62 per diluted ... net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2016 grew 39 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... --> ... 2020 report analyzes that automating biobanking workflow will ... long-term samples, minimizing manual errors, improving the workflow ... errors such as mislabeling or inaccurate sample barcoding ... a vital role in blood fractionation, DNA extraction, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... , President and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, will be ... in New York . ... the website approximately 5 minutes prior to the presentation ... of the presentation will be available on the website ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... Jessica Richman and Zachary Apte, founders ... initial angel funding process. Now, they are paying it forward to other microbiome ... investments in the microbiome space. In this, they join other successful entrepreneurs-turned-angels ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ("iCo" or ... financial results for the quarter ended September 30, ... Canadian dollars and presented under International Financial Reporting ... ," said Andrew Rae , President ... iCo-008 are not only value enriching for this ...
Breaking Biology Technology: