Navigation Links
Inner Workings of Gene Tied to Breast, Ovarian Cancer Revealed
Date:8/23/2010

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- For the first time, scientists have succeeded in isolating the lengthy protein encoded by the BRCA2 gene.

Dysfunction of this gene can up the risk for both breast and ovarian cancer.

By separating the protein from the rest of the components of human cells, researchers were able to study it more closely and figure out exactly what it does in the body.

"Since BRCA2 is such a large protein, it has a lot of different domains and it has never really been clear how the different domains work together," explained Wolf-Dietrich Heyer, senior author of a paper appearing online in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology and co-leader of the Molecular Oncology Program at the University of California, Davis, Cancer Center.

"With having the entire protein purified now, one has a chance to actually understand the whole protein," he said. "It's a huge protein. People were studying individual pieces but never got the full picture. Now we can really start to analyze its mechanisms."

That analysis should help illuminate the underpinnings of breast and ovarian cancers and point the way, someday, to better prevention and treatment.

Heyer's paper joins two other papers, one also in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology and one in Nature, which detail the findings. All were published online Aug. 22.

Although the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes were discovered some 15 years ago, scientists have had trouble deciphering their inner workings.

"Everybody has a BRCA gene. You need it because it functions as a tumor-suppressor gene," explained Dr. Julia Smith, director of the Breast Cancer Screening and Prevention Program at NYU Cancer Institute in New York City. "Abnormal cells that could become tumor cells are popping up all the time and we have lots and lots of repair mechanisms and corrective mechanisms to bump off those cells so they can't divide and behave badly."

Under normal circumstances, the BRCA gene would automatically correct those problems.

"But if you have certain mutations in the BRCA gene, then one of the mechanisms of repair - the BRCA gene - is not functioning properly, so that cell is allowed to proliferate and grow out of control," Smith said.

Over the course of several, often frustrating years, these scientists were able to purify the protein, which consists of 3,418 amino acids, to reveal some of its inner workings.

As it turns out, BRCA2 binds with another protein, RAD51, in a specific way to make sure that any breaks in the DNA get fixed correctly.

"It's a basic science discovery but it has many implications," said Stephen Kowalczykowski, senior author of the paper appearing in Nature and distinguished professor of microbiology and molecular and cellular biology at the University of California, Davis. "One would be that since we now know how the protein works, we can try to screen for therapeutic agents that could mitigate some of these problems."

"This illuminates a function of BRCA2 that's going to give new ideas to people who are involved in translational [lab-to-bedside] work," added Dr. Priscilla A. Furth, a professor of oncology and medicine at Lombardi Cancer Center of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. "This is good, solid, basic science that is going to put us on a firm ground as we now look at why we get cancers from the loss of BRCA2."

"The more we can understand where the defect is the more we can try to correct it. RAD51 could be a molecule that we could target to make DNA repair actually effective in BRCA patients," Smith added. "That's the import of this work. It's not going to help us right now but we're moving more and more towards targeted therapy, designing treatments that target specific molecular abnormalities."

More information

There's more on BRCA1 and BRCA2 at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

SOURCES: Julia A. Smith, M.D., Ph.D., director, Breast Cancer Screening and Prevention Program, NYU Cancer Institute, New York City; Priscilla A. Furth, M.D., professor, oncology and medicine, Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.; Stephen Kowalczykowski, Ph.D., distinguished professor, microbiology and molecular and cellular biology, University of California, Davis; Wolf-Dietrich Heyer, Ph.D., professor, microbiology and molecular and cellular biology, University of California, Davis, and co-leader, Molecular Oncology Program, UC Davis Cancer Center; Aug. 22, 2010, Nature, online; Aug. 22, 2010, Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Experts Support FDA Panels Backing of New Blood Thinner
2. Health Literacy Innovations Announces 1st Annual Health Literacy Innovator Award — Anonymous Donor Offers Prize Money To Winners
3. SNMs Technologist Section announces award winners
4. Intent.com Launches 30 Days of Intentions and Announces Winners of 2010 Intent Web Awards
5. High School Students Well-Schooled In Diversity: Teen Winners of Book Writing Contest Earn College Scholarships and Have Entries Published
6. 2010 OTC National Advertising Award Winners Announced
7. Judges Select Winner of the Ban Asbestos Now Video Search
8. IADR and GSK Consumer Healthcare announce winners of 2010 Innovation in Oral Care Awards
9. NIDA announces 2010 Addiction Science Award winners at Intel ISEF
10. MovieHatch.com Offers Fame on Massive Times Square Billboard; New Contest Puts Winner's Face in Lights in Heart of Broadway
11. Vietnamese Student Named UMass Boston JFK Award Winner
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Inner Workings of Gene Tied to Breast, Ovarian Cancer Revealed
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... ... The event is being held on April 7, 2016 from 5:30 p.m. ... Parkinson’s will fund nearly $100,000 for research for the care and cure of Parkinson’s ... is the architect of this informative event to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s. ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... ... After years as an active staff surgeon and having served as the ... Carman transitioned to chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery at what is now ... and began a second three-year term in January of 2016. , The original selection ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Regular gym users know the routine: each January, they ... access the treadmills. It’s a predictable trend. After the excesses of November and December, ... shape by joining gyms, starting new walking or running routines, or signing up for ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... Dr. Justin Scott and Dr. Lydia Muccioli ... Cost Dental Day to individuals in need. The event is scheduled to take place ... Dental Day is to provide dental care to community members in need. Each patient ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... ... Health and wellness is a topic that should concern all Americans; however, ... an illness. Migraines are a severe form of a headache and often are accompanied ... the pain on their worst enemy, the feeling can last for many hours and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... 5, 2016 --> ... states that the global active pharmaceuticals ingredients (APIs) market ... to reach US$185.9 bn by 2020. It is expected ... to 2020. The title of the report is "Active ... Geography, and by Therapeutic Area) - Global Industry Analysis, ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... England , February 5, 2016 ... --> Today, VoicePower Ltd - The Speech Recognition People, announced ... been deployed to improve patient care, reduce turnaround times and to ... Wirral CCG ,- VoicePower client since 2013 Challenge: ... Challenge: --> - Six doctors ,- Wirral CCG ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... , Feb. 4, 2016  The Senior Care ... Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz ... holding today,s hearing , "Developments in the ... increases and growing questions about abusive pharmacy benefit ... (R-UT) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: