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How cancer cells loose their (Circadian) rhythm
Date:5/10/2010

sms to humans peaks at specific times of the day and consider this as indirect evidence that the process is regulated by their internal biological clocks. Cells in the human mouth, for example, tend to divide in the evening, just before nightfall.

"There is a general evolutionary explanation for this," says research associate Julie Pendergast who participated in the study. "Ultraviolet light is one of the primary causes of mutations. Cells are particularly vulnerable to mutations during cell division. So organisms with cells that divide at night have a selective advantage."

In addition, there has been a considerable amount of indirect evidence that mitosis (division) in cancer cells is not under 24-hour control. For example, "experiments have found that cells turn cancerous when certain circadian clock genes have been knocked out," says Yamazaki. The results of other experiments that have periodically sampled cancer cell division rates also support this possibility.

Yamazaki designed and built a special system to monitor cell division in real time. He and his colleagues designed a special "reporter" molecule incorporating a gene that produces an enzyme that makes green light. They figured out how to insert this reporter into a cell's genome so that it produces the luminescent enzyme when the cell divides. This allows them to use a camera to continuously measure variations in the rate of cell division over long periods of time.

For the current experiment, the researchers inserted their special reporter into immortalized rat fibroblasts formed from connective tissue taken from rats. They selected this cell line because it was known to have working circadian clocks.

They have obtained consistent results in preliminary studies of lung cancer cells.


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Contact: David F. Salisbury
david.salisbury@vanderbilt.edu
615-343-6803
Vanderbilt University
Source:Eurekalert  

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