Navigation Links
Fox Chase researchers identify new mechanism used by cells to reverse silenced genes
Date:6/30/2011

PHILADELPHIA (June 30, 2011)Scientists at Fox Chase Cancer Center have discovered a new mechanism used by cells in the body to turn on silenced genes. This process is critical in preventing the development of cancersuggesting the possibility of new therapies that might target the specific changes underlying the disease. The findings will be published online in the journal Cell on June 30, 2011.

The process investigated by Alfonso Bellacosa, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor at Fox Chase, and his colleagues, is called methylation, in which the cell chemically tags genes to turn them off. More specifically, the cell silences a gene by adding a chemical compound known as a methyl group; without that methyl group, the gene remains active.

It's a process of great interest to scientists, Bellacosa explains, because methylation is a key part of normal gene regulation but, when it silences the genes that normally suppress tumors, it results in cancer. Indeed, some cancer drugs work by demethylatingmeaning, removing methyl groups from DNA. But those drugs will demethylate DNA non-specifically, he says, causing side effects and other problems.

Scientists have been investigating for years how the cell adds methyl groups to genes to turn them off, but have been less clear about the process of demethylation. For instance, some have suspected that demethylation only occurs passively, such as when DNA with an attached methyl group replicates, creating new DNA without a methyl group.

Now, Bellacosa and his team present the first direct evidence that demethylation can be, in fact, an active process, controlled by a specific protein along with clues about how to act on it in a targeted way.

The researchers found that one protein called thymine DNA glycosylase or TDGknown to help repair DNAis also responsible for removing methyl groups from DNA. Studies with mice that lacked TDG activity indicated the gene was needed for survival. Looking closer at the mouse embryos that didn't survive, they saw that the methylation was all awry genes that would normally be demethylated weren't, and remained silenced.

TDG needs a second protein to demethylate DNA, says Bellacosa - so future therapies might be devised to direct this machinery to turn on specific anti-cancer genes, for instance. "Since we now know there are proteins that actively affect demethylation, then we can imagine a new type of cancer therapy that demethylates specific genes. We would have a more precise and more targeted type of therapy."

What's also exciting, explains Bellacosa, is the discovery that the cell uses tools that normally repair DNA for a very different purpose: reversal of gene silencing by demethylation. "It's a totally new concept that DNA repair has this additional new function."

Beside cancer, this knowledge may also be applied to other diseases with alteration of methylation. He cautions, however, that scientists still have not figured out how to target therapy to specific genes, so any benefits to this discovery are years away. "This is a very fundamental study that gets at the process by which genes are turned on or turned off," he says. "We may be several years away from taking full advantage of this new knowledge. But we will get there."


'/>"/>

Contact: Diana Quattrone
Diana.Quattrone@fccc.edu
215-728-7784
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Hollywood-Style Liposuction Comes to DC: Chevy Chase Smartlipo Brings Revolutionary Laser-Assisted Liposuction to DC Metro Area
2. Torchmark Corporation Declares Dividend and Resumes Stock Repurchases
3. International Merchant Advisors to Complete Purchase of Medical Marijuana Company Organic Science, Inc.
4. Grand Opening of LIFE Ionizer Australia Launches with a Free Ionizer Upgrade with Purchase of Alkaline Water Ionizer from LIFE Ionizer Australia
5. A New Twist On Convert to Purchase
6. Ensemble Healthcare Properties Purchases North Valley Medical Plaza
7. ARI Purchases Intercytex Assets
8. CapSite™ Provides Detailed Transparency on Healthcare Technology Purchases
9. Ivory Homes Plans Ahead for the April 30th Home Buyer Tax Credit Deadline with 100 New Homes Ready for Quick Purchase
10. R-Biopharm Group Purchases a Majority Ownership in Trilogy Lab, Expanding US Operations
11. Fox Chase clinical trial tests first of its kind antibody
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/23/2017)... ... January 23, 2017 , ... The American Academy of ... scientific development, healthcare training and clinical application of medical infrared imaging, has announced ... Certification Qualification Courses for Technicians, respectively. , For the first time the AAT ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Moisture measurement is a necessary process step ... to success. Selecting an inappropriate measurement method can cause costly errors, and poor ... equipment. Rare or expensive substances are wasted and production may even be stopped ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... ... , ... Old School Labs™, makers of the wildly popular all-natural sports supplements ... to its growing team of brand ambassadors. The Olympia top finisher and former Big ... a year was able to turn professional, participating in the 2013 NPC USA Championships ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... ... ... the Mill”: a story of love and redemption, hope and uncertainty as a girl ... , “The Inn at the Mill” is the creation of published author, Lois Kulp, who ... living in Berks County on Crow Hill. The inn, the mill and "Post ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... ... January 23, 2017 , ... “Life Under Blankets”: an entrancing story ... age. “Life Under Blankets” is the creation of published author, Kimberly Mitchell, who earned ... Chicago. She went on to pursue a master’s degree in education in the field ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/20/2017)... January 20, 2017 Stock-Callers.com today evaluates ... SGYP ), Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE: NVO ... Pernix Therapeutics Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: PTX ). These ... January 19 th , 2017, finishing near its session lows. ... dropped over 0.7%, while shares of health care companies in ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... , VAE, January 20, 2017 ... gestiegenen Bedarf an Nothilfe   Die internationale humanitäre ... für Hilfsgüter zu schaffen   Seine ... Premierminister der VAE sowie Herrscher von Dubai ... internationalen Stadt der Hilfe (International Humanitarian City IHC) zu ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... Jan. 19, 2017 Report Details ... Which areas are going to grow at the fastest ... 2026, assessing data, trends, opportunities and prospects. Our ... the most lucrative areas in the industry and the ... forecasted sales across the all the major categories of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: