Navigation Links
UNC research uncovers new insight into cell development and cancer
Date:12/27/2012

CHAPEL HILL - Long-standing research efforts have been focused on understanding how stem cells, cells capable of transforming into any type of cell in the body, are capable of being programmed down a defined path to contribute to the development of a specific organ like a heart, lung, or kidney. Research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine has shed new light on how epigenetic signals may function together to determine the ultimate fate of a stem cell.

The study, published December 27, 2012 by the journal Molecular Cell, implicates a unique class of proteins called polycomb-like proteins, or PCL's, as bridging molecules between the "on" and "off" state of a gene. While all of these specialized types of cells share the same genetic information encoded in our DNA, it is becoming increasingly clear that information outside the genome, referred to as epigenetics, plays a central role in orchestrating the reprogramming of a stem cell down a defined path.

Although it is understood that epigenetics is responsible for turning genes "on" and "off" at defined times during cellular development, the precise mechanisms controlling this delicate process are less well understood.

"This finding has important implications for both stem cell biology and cancer development, as the same regulatory circuits controlled by PCL's in stem cells are often misregulated in tumors," said Dr. Greg Wang, senior author of the study and Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the UNC School of Medicine and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The study, led by postdoctoral research fellows Drs. Ling Cai and Rui Lu in the Wang lab, and Dr. Scott Rothbart, a Lineberger postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Brian Strahl, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the UNC School of Medicine and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, identified that PCL's interact with an epigenetic signal associated with genes that are turned on to recruit a group of proteins called the PRC2 complex which then turn genes off.

"In stem cells, the PRC2 complex turns genes off that would otherwise promote reprogramming into specialized cells of organs like the heart or lungs," said Wang.

In addition to its fundamental role in cellular development, elevated levels of PRC2 have been found in cancers of the prostate, breast, lung, and blood, and pharmaceutical companies are already developing drugs to target PRC2. Wang and colleagues determined that the same mechanisms controlling PRC2 function in stem cells also applies in human cancers.

"The identification of a specific PCL in controlling PRC2 in cancer cells suggests we may be able to develop drugs targeting this PCL to regulate PRC2 function in a more controlled manner that may maintain PRC2 function in stem cells while inhibiting it in the tumor," said Wang.


'/>"/>

Contact: William Davis
william_davis@med.unc.edu
919-966-5906 x254
University of North Carolina Health Care
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Study by UC Santa Barbara researchers suggests that bacteria communicate by touch
2. Research reveals first evidence of hunting by prehistoric Ohioans
3. Diabetes Research Institute develops oxygen-generating biomaterial
4. APS issues new policy requiring identification of sex or gender in reporting scientific research
5. UC Santa Barbara researchers discover genetic link between visual pathways of hydras and humans
6. Study jointly led by UCSB researcher supports theory of extraterrestrial impact
7. U of Alberta researcher steps closer to understand autoimmune diseases
8. Research on flavanols and procyanidins provides new insights into how these phytonutrients may positively impact human health
9. A project to research biological and chemical aspects of microalgae to fuel approach
10. Scripps Research discoveries lead to newly approved drug for infant respiratory distress syndrome
11. Researchers attempt to solve problems of antibiotic resistance and bee deaths in one
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
UNC research uncovers new insight into cell development and cancer
(Date:12/5/2016)... , Dec. 5, 2016  The Office ... today published "Can CT Scans Enhance or Replace ... the potential of supporting or replacing forensic autopsies ... CT scan. In response to recommendations ... is exploring using CT scans as a potential ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , Dec. 1, 2016   SoftServe , ... BioLock , an electrocardiogram (ECG) biosensor analysis ... a key IoT asset. The smart system ensures ... vehicle,s steering wheel and mobile devices to easily ... As vehicle technology advances, so too ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... , Nov. 30, 2016  higi SH ... new partnership initiative targeting national brands, industry thought-leaders ... reward their respective audiences for taking steps to ... its inception in 2012, higi has built the ... impacting over 38 million people who have conducted ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/9/2016)... -- According to a new market research report "Oligonucleotide ... Equipment), Application (Research, PCR, Gene, DNA, NGS, Diagnostic, RNAI), End user ... global market is expected to reach USD 2.20 Billion by 2021 ... during the forecast period. Continue Reading ... ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 2016 This report analyzes the worldwide markets for ... (Humic, Amino, & Fulvic), Extract Based, and Others. The report ... Ornamental & Turf, Row Crops, and Others. The report provides ... , Japan , Europe ... , and Rest of World. Annual estimates and forecasts ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... -- OncoSec Medical Incorporated ("OncoSec") (NASDAQ: ONCS ... today announced financial results for the fiscal first ... on our commitment to address an unmet medical ... pleased with the early clinical response data presented ... focused on advancing our lead program – ImmunoPulse® ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... AskLinkerReports.com has published a report on ... Industry 2016 Market Research Report. From a basic outline of ... are all covered in the report. This report projects investment ... of the Amyloglucosidase industry. ... , , Complete ...
Breaking Biology Technology: