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:7/26/2017)... ... July 26, 2017 , ... Evergreen Healthcare Partners is ... continued efforts to provide innovative offerings to their healthcare partners. These solutions will ... dynamic, high-performing teams to address healthcare IT’s biggest challenges. , “Adding Talent Management ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... ... ... may be hard to imagine that the basic necessities that developed countries take for ... developed countries consider rare or eradicated, like measles, are still a rite of passage ... segment of "Success Files", actor Rob Lowe will introduce a new segment that will ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... ... July 26, 2017 , ... ... will host its 2017 Process Validation and Process Validation Statistics Conferences in ... to process validation lifecycle challenges faced by process validation professionals and statisticians ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... Newport Beach, CA 92660 (PRWEB) , ... ... ... of Data Loss Prevention for on-premises, off and in the cloud ; today ... intelligent detection and scientific algorithms within a simple to use control console for ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... ... July 26, 2017 , ... “We are thrilled to be partnering with Six ... schedule an appointment online in real time,” said Keith English, LocalMed CEO. “Allowing patients ... will bring more Six Month Smiles patients to their providers.” , Each month, over ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:7/13/2017)... Mich. , July 13, 2017  Centurion Medical Products, a ... its DisImpactor ® fecal impaction removal device for hospice patient ... ... Patient pain management and ... for Hospice can help alleviate patient pain while preventing unneeded emergency ...
(Date:7/11/2017)... IRVINE, Calif. , July 11, 2017 Zymo Research Corp., ... new service that can quantify biological aging in a precise manner using ... Dr. Steve Horvath , a professor of human genetics and biostatistics ... Fielding School of Public Health , Zymo Research,s proprietary DNAge ™ ... loci. ...
(Date:7/11/2017)... Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ORMP ) ( ... development of oral drug delivery systems, announced today that ... to schedule an End-of-Phase II meeting with Oramed for ... insulin capsule ORMD-0801 in the treatment of type 2 ... endpoints by indicating a statistically significant lowering of glucose ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: