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:10/12/2017)... Bethesda, MD (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Award of Excellence to Carol Friedman, PhD, FACMI, during the Opening Session of AMIA’s ... 4 – 8. , In honor of Morris F. Collen, a pioneer in the ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Hair Restoration, has recently contributed a medical article to the newly revamped ... Dr. Mohebi’s article spotlights the hair transplant procedure known as Follicular Unit ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... , ... On Saturday, October 21, the Health & Wellness Center at Florida ... money for the American Heart Association Heart Walk. Teams of up to 10 people ... keep their treadmills moving for 5 hours. Treadmills will start at 7:00 p.m. on ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... of $3,296 in property taxes a year. In some states—like New York, New ... , By contrast, many overseas retirement havens have extremely low property-tax rates, which ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... its enhanced Pepper Flow promotional review platform at the Promotional Review Committee ... insight-driven capabilities help marketers streamline the medical, legal, and regulatory review (MLR) ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/27/2017)... for their devotion to personalized service, SMP Pharmacy Solutions announces ... the South Florida Business Journal,s 50 Fastest-Growing Companies, and listed ... national specialty pharmacy has found its niche.  To that end, ... honored by SFBJ as the 2017 Power Leader in Health ... his award in October, Bardisa said of the three achievements, ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... 2017   Montrium , an industry leader ... the IQPC Trial Master Files & Inspection Readiness ... EastHORN Clinical Services has selected eTMF Connect ... management. EastHORN, a leading European contract research organization ... transparency to enable greater collaboration with sponsors, improve ...
(Date:9/23/2017)... HORSHAM, Pa. , Sept. 22, 2017 ... received a complete response letter from the U.S. Food ... (BLA) seeking approval of sirukumab for the treatment of ... response letter indicates additional clinical data are needed to ... of moderately to severely active RA. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: