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:2/6/2017)... , Feb. 6, 2017 According ... security are driving border authorities to continue to ... reports there are 2143 Automated Border Control (ABC) ... currently deployed at more than 163 ports of ... 2013 to 2016 achieving a combined CAGR of ...
(Date:2/3/2017)... Feb. 3, 2017 A new independent identity ... Partners, LLP (IdSP) . Designed to fill a critical ... identity market, founding partners Mark Crego and ... years just in identity expertise that span federal governments, ... leadership. The Crego-Kephart combined expertise has a common theme ...
(Date:2/2/2017)...  EyeLock LLC, a market leader of iris-based identity ... What You Should Know About Biometrics in the Cloud ... is a growing concern. In traditional schemes, cryptography is ... authentication schemes such as username/password suffer from inherent weaknesses. ... an elegant solution to the problem of high-security user ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... February 22, 2017 , ... Pharma and biotech consulting firm ... director. Operating from Pennside’s Zurich headquarters, Pennside Partners, GmbH, Mr. Perkins brings 14 ... more than a decade with leading market research firm, GfK. He began his ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... 21, 2017 Synthetic Biologics, Inc. (NYSE MKT: ... microbiome to protect and restore the health of patients, intends to ... 31, 2016 on Thursday, March 2, 2017, and to host a ... information for the call is as follows: U.S. (toll ... ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... ... February 21, 2017 , ... Vortex ... , a fully automated benchtop system for collecting intact circulating tumor cells (CTCs) ... at the Molecular Medicine Tri Conference (Tri-Con) Annual Meeting 2017 (February 19–24 San ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... February 21, 2017 , ... The ... prospects for their use, in multiple areas of medicine, due to their differentiating characteristics. ... division, and they have the ability to be induced to become tissue or organic-specific ...
Breaking Biology Technology: