Navigation Links
Tet further revealed: Studies track protein relevant to stem cells, cancer

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. Last year, a research team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill discovered one way the protein Tet 1 helps stem cells keep their pluripotencythe unique ability to become any cell type in the body. In two new studies, the team takes a broad look at the protein's location in the mouse genome, revealing a surprising dual function and offering the first genome-wide location of the protein and its product, 5-hydroxymethylcytosinedubbed the "sixth base" of DNA.

UNC biochemist Yi Zhang, PhD, whose team conducted the studies, called the findings an important step in understanding the molecular mechanisms behind cell differentiation and the development of cancer. The findings appear in two recent papers, published March 30, 2011 online in Nature and in the April 1, 2011 issue of Genes & Development.

"There is no doubt that Tet proteins are relevant to cancer," said Zhang, Kenan distinguished professor of biochemistry and biophysics. Zhang is also an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Tet proteins were initially discovered in leukemia as fusion proteins, which are commonly found in cancer cells, where they may function as oncoproteins.

In addition, Zhang said, "Tet is likely to be one of the important players for stem cell reprogramming." Learning to "reprogram" cells in the adult body to make them behave like stem cells has long been a goal for stem cell researchers; understanding how Tet proteins operate could help advance stem-cell based treatments.

Tet proteins are known to help stem cells stay pluripotent. Zhang's team analyzed Tet1's occupancy across the entire mouse embryonic stem cell genome. They found that the protein works by using a two-pronged approach to maintain the mouse embryonic stem cell state.

"On one hand, it silences the genes that are important for differentiation. On the other hand, it also activates pluripotency genes," said Zhang.

The team then focused its attention on the Tet1-catalyzed reaction product,5-hydroxymethylcytosine. 5-hydroxymethylcytosine is a modified version of cytosinethe "C" in the four main DNA bases, A, T, G, and C. 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine have been called the fifth and sixth bases of DNA, but since 5-hydroxymethylcytosine was discovered only recently, scientists know little about it.

"Everybody is trying to understand what 5-hydroxymethylcytosine is doing," said Zhang. "Is it an intermediate, or is it an end product? What is its biological function?" Zhang's team mapped the distribution of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine across the genome, offering new insights to its role in development and disease.

"It's the first time we have the whole picture of where this new modification is in embryonic stem cells," said Zhang. "We found that its role in regulating transcription is complicated. It's not simply activating or repressing genesit depends on the context."

Like much of science, the research answers some questions while raising others. "This study is just beginning," said Zhang. Although Tet1 is known to generate 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, there are places where one exists without the other. Further investigation could reveal more about the relationship between the two and whether other enzymes may play a role. In addition, scientists need to examine how Tet1 and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine function in animal models.


Contact: Les Lang
University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Pharmacokinetic/Pharmacodynamic Data Support Further Development of Tobiras Next-Generation CCR5 Receptor Antagonist
2. Experts call for further research into the relationship between insulin therapy and cancer
3. Researchers find further evidence linking Epstein-Barr virus and risk of multiple sclerosis
4. ENT and Allergy Associates Welcomes Tamekia L. Wakefield, MD, Further Reinforcing its Pediatric Sinus Expertise and Capabilities in Queens
5. New findings further clarify breast cancer risk with hormone therapy
6. Men With Low PSA at 60 Might Not Need Further Screening
7. Adding monounsaturated fats to a low-cholesterol diet can further improve levels
8. Healthiest Fast Foods Revealed: Just in Time for the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, Debuts Munchie Madness
9. UC studies show marijuana has therapeutic value, reports to legislature
10. Second Dose of Gene Therapy for Inherited Blindness Proves Safe in Animal Studies
11. Studies Detail Possible Benefits of omega-3 Fatty Acids for Dogs With Arthritis
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Tet further revealed: Studies track protein relevant to stem cells, cancer
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... of the well-respected Microsoft Dynamics SL User Group (MSDSLUG). Recognized as Microsoft’s official ... independent group of Microsoft Dynamics SL software users, partners, industry experts and representatives. ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Bangalore, Karnataka (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 ... ... the world, Health-E-minds, an innovative online platform for mental health and wellness consultation, ... KleverKid. , This partnership will bridge the knowledge gap experienced by parents and ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... Dr. Thomas Dunlap and Dr. Patrick Coleman , ... Emergency Medicine at St., Joseph Health System’s Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital , co-hosted ... similar ways and require time-critical intervention to avoid large area heart damage and progressive ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... located in central Michigan, have come together on Thanksgiving Day to share the ... available for viewing on the Serenity Point YouTube channel, patients displayed what they ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... Representative. As a franchise owner, Somu now offers travelers, value and care based ... packages, private cruise sales, as well as, cabin upgrades and special amenities such ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... the "Radioimmunoassay Market by Type (Reagents ... Industry, Academics, Clinical Diagnostic Labs), Application (Research, ... to 2020" report to their offering. ... the addition of the "Radioimmunoassay Market ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... of a Biologics License Application (BLA) with ... Administration (FDA) for ABP 501, a biosimilar candidate to ... the first adalimumab biosimilar application submitted to the FDA ... biosimilar pathway. Sean E. Harper , M.D., ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 On ... first federal bellwether trial against Wright Medical Technology, ... to their Conserve metal-on-metal hip implant device, awarded ... Following a two week trial and three days ... metal-on-metal hip device was defectively designed and unreasonably ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: