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Researchers identify a mechanism that stops progression of abnormal cells into cancer
Date:8/14/2014

(Boston)-- Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) report that a tumor suppressor pathway, called the Hippo pathway, is responsible for sensing abnormal chromosome numbers in cells and triggering cell cycle arrest, thus preventing progression into cancer.

Although the link between abnormal cells and tumor suppressor pathwayslike that mediated by the well known p53 genehas been firmly established, the critical steps in between are not well understood. According to the authors, whose work appears in Cell, this work completes at least one of the missing links.

Normal human cells contain 23 pairs of chromosomes, but this number doubles to 46 pairs as a cell prepares to divide. At the end of a normal cell division cycle, these chromosomes evenly divide to produce two identical cells with 23 pairs of chromosomes each. Sometimes, however, errors occur during division and cells fail to divide properly, resulting in giant cells with double the number of chromosomes, known as a tetraploid cells. Normally, p53 dependent pathways stop these tetraploid cells from proliferating. This response is critical because those tetraploid cells that escape detection can facilitate cancer development: Recent studies suggest that as many as 40% of all solid tumors have passed through a tetraploid stage at some point during their development. Thus, there has been great interest in understanding how a cell "knows" it has a tetraploid complement of chromosomes and is in need of tumor suppression.

Using a technique known as genome-wide screening, the scientists systematically depleted every human gene from tetraploid cells in order to discover which ones were important to prevent proliferation. They found that when one specific gene, LATS2, was eliminated, the arrested tetraploid cells resumed proliferation, thus demonstrating that LATS2 was an upstream gene responsible for halting abnormal cell division. The LATS2 gene is known t
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Contact: Gina DiGravio
gina.digravio@bmc.org
617-638-8480
Boston University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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