Navigation Links
UT Southwestern research reveals how cancer-driving enzyme works
Date:5/6/2011

DALLAS May 6, 2011 Cancer researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center are helping unlock the cellular-level function of the telomerase enzyme, which is linked to the disease's growth.

Their latest findings, published today in Molecular Cell, demonstrate that telomerase repairs chromosomes in one of two ways depending on whether a cell is dividing normally or if the cell is under stress from enzyme inhibition and could lead to new or improved cancer-fighting therapies that promote inhibition of this enzyme.

"It's a significant advance in our understanding of how telomerase works," said Dr. Woodring Wright, professor of cell biology and senior author of the study. "Our goal is to identify new targets for inhibiting telomerase."

The number of times a cell divides is determined by telomeres, protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that indicate cell age. Every time a cell divides, the telomeres shorten. When telomeres shrink to a certain length, the cell either dies or stops dividing. In cancer cells, the enzyme telomerase keeps rebuilding the telomeres, so the cell never receives the cue to stop dividing.

Although telomerase was discovered in 1985, exactly how this enzyme repairs telomeres to enable cancer cells to divide and grow was largely unknown. Until now, researchers didn't know how many telomerase molecules went into action at the telomeres and under what conditions.

"It's a single molecule under normal cancer growth conditions, but if you shorten telomeres artificially by inhibiting telomerase, now it's more than one molecule acting on the ends of the telomeres," Dr. Wright said of the study's findings.

When acting as a single molecule at the telomeres, telomerase adds about 60 nucleotide molecules "in one fell swoop to the end of the chromosome," Dr. Wright said.

Researchers also discovered that structures in cells called Cajal bodies help process telomerase during chromosome-repair activity. Cajal bodies assemble ribonucleic acid (RNA) within proteins.

"Telomerase uses this RNA in order to add the sequences onto the end, and this complex is assembled or modified in some way in these Cajal bodies," Dr. Wright said.

UT Southwestern scientists next will work to pinpoint the precise molecules that bring telomerase to telomeres for potential development of inhibitors that would be new cancer drugs.

"We now need to find the molecules that are doing that as targets for additional inhibitors," Dr. Wright said. "We have identified the step, but we haven't yet identified the molecules involved."

One drug that blocks telomerase, Imetelstat or GRN163L, was developed by the biotechnology company Geron with help from Drs. Wright and Jerry Shay, professor of cell biology. That drug, tested at UT Southwestern, is currently in clinical trials for treatment of several types of cancer.


'/>"/>

Contact: Debbie Bolles
debbie.bolles@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Signaling path in brain may prevent that Im full message, UT Southwestern scientists discover
2. Team of scientists predicts continued death of forests in southwestern US due to climate change
3. UT Southwestern researchers uncover culprits in life-threatening clotting disorder
4. Alcohol consumers are becoming the norm, UT Southwestern analysis finds
5. UT Southwestern researchers find key step in bodys ability to make red blood cells
6. UT Southwestern researchers use novel sperm stem-cell technique to produce genetically modified rats
7. UT Southwestern researchers find mechanism that may stop E. coli from developing in cattle
8. UT Southwestern researchers identify key molecular step to fighting off viruses
9. UT Southwesterns BioCenter driving biotech, medical innovation in North Texas
10. New brain nerve cells key to stress resilience, UT Southwestern researchers find
11. UT Southwestern student receives fellowship from Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017 Research and Markets has announced ... & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their ... The ... CAGR of around 8.8% over the next decade to reach approximately ... the market estimates and forecasts for all the given segments on ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... March 20, 2017 PMD Healthcare announces the ... and Wellness Management System (WMS), a remote, real-time lung ... 2010, PMD Healthcare is a Medical Device, Digital Health, ... dedicated to creating innovative solutions that empower people to ... intent focus, PMD developed the first ever personal spirometer, ...
(Date:3/7/2017)... England , March 7, 2017 Brandwatch , ... chosen by The Prince,s Trust to uncover insights to ... across The Trust. The UK,s leading youth charity will ... social campaign results and get a better understanding of the topics ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... ... supplier of Common Lisp (CL) development tools, and market leader for Semantic ... key performance enhancements now available within the most effective system for developing and ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... Covalent Metrology has ... Services unit provides high-quality data to clients, both faster and cheaper than ... There are no price premiums, and customers are welcome to participate in the ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... 21, 2017 , ... The 2017 Colorado Manufacturing Awards celebrates ... nominees and well as the first-year award for 2017 Manufacturing Women of the ... hosted by CompanyWeek and Manufacturers Edge, among other sponsors. , The Colorado ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... ... The AMA is happy to announce that $48,000 in scholarships will be awarded ... created through funds donated by model aviation organizations and individuals, AMA members, and a ... Committee, which is made up of model aviation pilots and enthusiasts. The committee evaluates ...
Breaking Biology Technology: