Navigation Links
Newly found enzymes may play early role in cancer
Date:12/24/2008

SALT LAKE CITYResearchers have discovered two enzymes that, when combined, could be involved in the earliest stages of cancer. Manipulating these enzymes genetically might lead to targeted therapies aimed at slowing or preventing the onset of tumors.

"We could conceivably reactivate a completely normal gene in a tumor cell a gene that could prevent the growth of a tumor if reactivated," says David Jones, Ph.D., professor of oncological sciences at the University of Utah and senior director of early translational research at the university's Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI).

"We believe this could be one of the earliest processes to go wrong in cancer," he adds. "By manipulating these enzymes, we could possibly prevent or slow the onset of tumors."

The enzymes appear to control an "onand-off switch" for critical genes that could trigger cancer or numerous other diseases and birth defects. The research is published in the December 26 issue of Cell.

Using zebrafish that share similar genetics to humans, the HCI scientists identified a previously unknown enzyme process that controls the levels of DNA methylation on genes.

"Methylation is a cellular process that is required for healthy cell growth and development, but it can go awry in cancer and diseased cells," says Brad Cairns, Ph.D., HCI investigator and professor of oncological sciences at the University of Utah. "You can think of DNA methylation as an on-and-off switch. Methylation silences or 'shuts off' genes that need to be turned off or are not functioning as they should, whereas the reverse process called demethylation 'turns on' healthy genes and genes needed at critical times in development," he says.

In cancer, this methylation process goes haywire, leading to tumor growth. Genes that should be "turned on" are not and vice versa.

The significance of this research is the discovery of two enzymes involved in DNA demethylation. Defects in DNA methylation balance are strongly associated with the early development of cancer, other diseases and birth defects, and the scientists say their study is the first clear evidence that this enzyme system plays a critical role in maintaining this balance. They also believe it's a process that can be reversed.

Further research will reveal if DNA methylation levels can be manipulated genetically. If so, it could lead to drugs to reactivate particular genes and suppress tumor growth. Remarkably, this system also helps protect the genome from mutations.

"We discovered a pair of enzymes that can remove methylated DNA, but if these enzymes work improperly, they will instead enhance the rate of mutations in methylated DNA and cause cancer progression," says Jones. "The question now is, when they work improperly, can we find ways to shut them off and prevent these mutations?"

The enzymes leading to DNA demethylation involve the coupling of a 5-meC deaminase enzyme, a G:T glycosylase enzyme and Gadd45, which is not an enzyme.


'/>"/>

Contact: Linda Aagard
linda.aagard@hci.utah.edu
801-587-7639
University of Utah
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Newly identified gene powerful predictor of colon cancer metastasis
2. Newly-discovered mechanism can explain the Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome
3. Genes newly explained effect on height may change tumor disorder treatment
4. Newly discovered molecular switch helps decide cell type in early embryo development
5. Newly discovered monkey is threatened with extinction
6. Leatherback turtles newly discovered migration route may be roadmap to salvation
7. Newly described dragon protein could be key to bird flu cure
8. Death, division or cancer? Newly discovered checkpoint process holds the line in cell division
9. Newly identified role for power plants in human cells could lead to targeted therapies
10. Newly defined signaling pathway could mean better biofuel sources
11. Newly-identified exercise gene could help with depression
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/16/2017)... , Feb. 16, 2017  Genos, a community ... that it has received Laboratory Accreditation from the ... is presented to laboratories that meet stringent requirements ... scientifically rigorous processes. "Genos is committed ... laboratory practices. We,re honored to be receiving CAP ...
(Date:2/9/2017)... Feb. 9, 2017 The biomass boiler market ... the biomass boiler market globally in terms of revenue ... boilers. The market for biomass boilers has been segmented ... application, and country/region. The market based on feedstock type, ... residues, biogas & energy crops, urban residues, and others. ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... Report Highlights The global biosurgery ... billion in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate ... Includes - An overview of the global market for ... from 2015 and 2016, and projections of compound annual ... market on the basis of product type, source, application, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/27/2017)... ... February 27, 2017 , ... In starting a program to hire ... grandfather, “Hire for attitude. Train for skill.” , In keeping with this philosophy, the ... as a salesman. Zamzow is hoping to replicate the practice throughout the company. , ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... SAN FRANCISCO, CA (PRWEB) , ... February 24, 2017 , ... ... awarding of a $224K grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for ... is based on Delpor’s PROZOR technology and is expected to deliver therapeutic ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , Feb. 24, 2017  Driven by consumers, ... are now the fastest growing categories, finds the ... Actives in Personal Care: Multi-regional Market Analysis and ... management consulting firm Kline. "Biotechnology actives ... make them more effective for skin and hair ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... 24, 2017  OncoSec Medical Incorporated ("OncoSec") (NASDAQ: ONCS), ... a Key Opinion Leader event to highlight new clinical ... poster presentation at the upcoming 2017 ASCO-SITC Immuno-Oncology Symposium ... will be held in-person and via live webcast on ... AM PST at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel ...
Breaking Biology Technology: