Navigation Links
Pitt cancer researchers find key oncoprotein in Merkel cell carcinoma
Date:8/15/2011

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 15 Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) have identified the oncoprotein that allows a common and usually harmless virus to transform healthy cells into a rare but deadly skin cancer called Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC). Their findings, published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could improve diagnosis for MCC and may help in understanding how other cancers arise.

Three years ago, Yuan Chang, M.D., and Patrick S. Moore, M.D., M.P.H., in the Cancer Virology Program at UPCI, discovered a new human cancer virus, called Merkel Cell polyomavirus (MCV), that causes most cases of MCC. But until now, it was not clear how the virus triggered cancer development.

To figure that out, lead author Masahiro Shuda, Ph.D., UPCI research associate, and the team systematically examined the viral proteins that might trigger cancer cell growth. After establishing human MCC cell lines, the scientists learned that knocking out a viral protein called "small tumor protein," or sT, stopped the cancer cells from replicating. When they introduced sT into healthy cells in the lab, the cells took on the characteristics of cancer cells.

"This was a surprise because the viral sT proteins from other similar viruses that cause cancers in laboratory animals do not directly increase cancer activity in cells," Dr. Shuda said. "Once we found this, we had to next understand the biological mechanisms that make MCV sT a cancer-causing protein, or oncoprotein."

The MCV sT triggers a cellular process called "cap-dependent translation" that allows certain cellular oncoproteins to be made, Dr. Moore explained. Although the cancers caused by MCV are rare, the virus is important because it helps scientists pinpoint cell pathways that are key to more common cancers. These cancers also might activate cap-dependent translation through a DNA mutation rather than through a virus infection.

In related studies recently published by the team in Emerging Infectious Diseases, MCV was shown to normally infect four out of five healthy adults, where it remains a silent resident in skin cells without causing any symptoms. Only when specific mutations occur in the DNA of the virus―for example, by ultraviolet light exposure―does it have potential to cause cancer. The researchers are now working to identify new agents to target MCC cancer cells that may be more active and less toxic.

MCV is the first virus in the family of polyomaviruses shown to cause human cancer, but six other polyomaviruses have recently been discovered as inapparent infections of people, and scientists are actively seeking to find out if they are additional, cancer-causing viruses as well. MCV is the second human cancer virus found by the Chang-Moore laboratory, which previously also discovered the virus causing Kaposi's sarcoma the most common cancer among AIDS patients.


'/>"/>

Contact: Anita Srikameswaran
SrikamAV@upmc.edu
412-578-9193
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Enhancing arrest of cell growth to treat cancer in mice
2. Paxil Blocks Tamoxifen, Lowers Survival Odds Against Breast Cancer
3. The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship Joins the Commission on Cancer
4. Low forms of cyclin E reduce breast cancer drugs effectiveness
5. Racial disparities persist in the diagnosis of advanced breast cancer and colon cancer in the U.S.
6. Soft drinks may increase risk of pancreatic cancer
7. UH Case Medical Center researchers publish promising findings for advanced cervical cancer
8. Genes Play Role in Prognosis With Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers
9. Single gene mutation induces endometrial cancer
10. Certain genetic profiles associated with recurrence-free survival for non-small cell lung cancer
11. Molecular pathways linked to sex, age affect outcomes in lung cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... , ... According to a new study by NCPA Senior Fellow John R. ... rules Congress has directed the CBO to follow. The CBO itself previously recognized Obamacare ... it estimates a reduction in employer-based coverage due to the GOP reform, which is ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... ... The iaedp Foundation, the premier provider of educational programs and training standards for eating ... of disordered eating, announced today that the 2017 Symposium set a new attendance record ... countries converged on the Green Valley Resort in Las Vegas. , “We are ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... ... Premier Center for Shamanic Healing and Spiritual Awakening, proudly presents her Sacred ... 2017. This sacred and spiritual journey during the Summer Solstice will also ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... As ... to create a communications platform that positions them as the go-to thought leader ... reinvented their online publication as an always-on, always-fresh news, views and advocacy engine, ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... On June ... ERISA Benefit Claims Litigation seminar in Chicago, Illinois. She will present on: ... of cases litigated under ERISA involve claims for long-term disability benefits. This ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... 23, 2017  HealthMine surveys with 9,250 insured consumers ... health plan members want help from their plans in ... in their health, 2) help closing gaps in care, ... health and 5) relevant, real-time guidance. Meeting these needs ... costs. A Reason to Stay ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , March 23, 2017  Provectus Biopharmaceuticals, ... the "Company"), a clinical-stage oncology and dermatology biopharmaceutical ... Definitive Financing Commitment Term Sheet (the "Definitive Financing") ... group of the Company,s stockholders, who are referred ... in a Form 8-K filed with the Securities ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 The Board of Directors of ... Report 2016 including the complete 2016 Annual Accounts with notes. ... Nordic Nanovector,s website in the section Investor Relations/Reports and presentations/Annual ... ... Kvåle, Chief Financial Officer Cell: +47-91-51-95-76 Email: ir@nordicnanovector.com ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: