Navigation Links
The TET1 enzyme steers us through fetal development and fights cancer

To ensure normal fetal development and prevent disease, it is crucial that certain genes are on or off in the right time intervals. Researchers in Professor Kristian Helin's group at BRIC, University of Copenhagen, have now shown how the TET1 enzyme controls the activity of our genes. The results are just published in the journal Nature.

Control of our genes

The complete human genetic code was mapped in 2000. However, it has become clear that the genetic code itself only in part can answer how an individual develops and is protected against disease. What is detrimental is also how our genes are controlled what genes are on or off at certain times. This is in part regulated by specific cellular enzymes that can attach small chemical groups, methyl groups, to our DNA:

-The methyl groups can turn off the gene that lies in a stretch of DNA where it is added. TET1 is another type of enzyme that can fine tune the signals that control gene activity by changing the methyl groups which thereafter are removed, says Kristian Helin.

TET1 controls fetal development

Kristine Williams, Jesper Christensen and Marianne Terndrup Pedersen are the 3 key persons in the Helin laboratory at BRIC contributing with the new results:

-Our most important finding is that TET1 acts like a safe guard and prevents that methyl groups are attached to genes that needs to be active for normal growth and development of our cells. That is crucial for normal fetal development, says PhD student Kristine Williams. Selected genes needs to be active in the stem cells of our body, before the cells are specialized to one of the more than 200 specialized cell types that exist in our body. Other genes need only to be active in specialized cell types as for example liver cells, muscle cells or nerve cells.

When cancer cells develop

The results also contribute to the understanding of what goes wrong when some cells accidently develop into cancer cells. The functions of our body are dependent on constant cellular renewal through division of the cells. A large cellular machinery ensures that our DNA is intact and copied correctly when our cells divide. This is crucial for normal development and function of the cells. In the worst case scenario, changes in the DNA, so called mutations, can result in development of cancer. Specialized genes called tumor suppressor genes are especially important for fighting cancer:

- If methyl groups are deployed to genes that are usually active in normal cells, the genes are turned off and this can be detrimental. If it happens to tumor suppressor genes, it can be a step towards cancer development as the genes no longer can protect against unintended cell growth, says Kristian Helin.

TET enzymes and blood cancers

So TET1 can fight cancers by controlling the activity and protective function of tumor suppressor genes. Our cells also contain a close relative to TET1, the TET2 enzyme, which is the most frequently mutated gene in blood cancers. The researches at BRIC has discovered that TET2 also controls gene activity by facilitating removal of methyl groups from the DNA and they are currently extending these studies to cellular models for cancer development. Results from these studies will supply insight into the mechanisms leading to blood cancers and can potentially lead to development of new therapeutics.


Contact: Kristian Helin
University of Copenhagen

Related medicine news :

1. Investigators discover enzyme essential for healthy lung development
2. Newly discovered role for enzyme in neurodegenerative diseases
3. Enzyme helps prepare lung tissue for metastatic development
4. Heart Enzymes May Predict Outcome After Bypass Surgery
5. Breathing easy: LSU biochemists offer first 3-D model of asthma-causing inflammation enzyme
6. Princess Margaret Hospital researchers identify a key enzyme that affects radiation response
7. Chaperone enzyme provides new target for cancer treatments
8. Virus might fight brain tumors better if armed with bacterial enzyme, study shows
9. Enzyme inhibition or removal may prevent or treat ischemic retinopathy
10. New clue in leukemia mystery: Researchers identify poison employed by deadly enzyme mutations
11. UH physicists study behavior of enzyme linked to Alzheimers, cancer
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
The TET1 enzyme steers us through fetal development and fights cancer
(Date:11/30/2015)... DE (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... guest lecturer at a University of Delaware Accounting and Management of Information Systems ... software solutions for mid-market businesses. Sommer will speak at before student in the ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Cycling, running, and walking are regular Sunday activities ... morning of February 28, 2016. , That’s when the 7th annual ANF Group ... to help children and families at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. , The ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... HemoTreat™ has announced that the ... ointment to its website. , “Our goal is simple:” says Michael Blasco, HemoTreat’s ... the comparison chart and ingredient list allows our customers to quickly see why, ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... , ... At Grand Dental PC, their priority is to deliver quality care ... problems, you need to turn to a dentist who listens and responds; an experienced ... friendly dentist who counsels you on the best ways to maintain and improve your ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... Dr. Seth ... three office locations, patients can visit Dr. Margulies to experience the best available orthodontic ... hold the title of "NJ Top Dentist"! , Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... , November 30, 2015 North America ... is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.6% from 2015 ... valued at USD 135.6 million in 2014, and is expected to ... --> According to the new Market Research Report "North America ... By End User (Hospitals, ambulatory care, others) - Analysis And Forecast ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , November 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... --> adds a ... for 2010 - 2015 with comprehensive ... a range of deal types, such ... strategic alliances. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Nov. 30, 2015  Kevin Smith has been ... a global pioneer in wireless monitoring of vital ... MA , Mr. Smith will be responsible ... commercial strategy.  He will also directly oversee partnering ... clinical evidence for SensiumVitals, the first early warning ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: