Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Bacterial DNA may integrate into human genome more readily in tumor tissue

Gene transfer may play role in cancer and other diseases associated with DNA damage

Bacterial DNA may integrate into the human genome more readily in tumors than in normal human tissue, according to a new study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Institute for Genome Sciences. Researchers analyzed genomic sequencing data available from the Human Genome Project, the 1,000 Genomes Project and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). They considered the phenomenon of lateral gene transfer (LGT), the transmission of genetic material between organisms in the absence of sex.

Scientists have already shown that bacteria can transfer DNA to the genome of an animal. The researchers at the University of Maryland Institute for Genome Sciences found evidence that lateral gene transfer is possible from bacteria to the cells of the human body, known as human somatic cells. They found the bacterial DNA was more likely to integrate in the genome in tumor samples than in normal, healthy somatic cells. The phenomenon might play a role in cancer and other diseases associated with DNA damage. The paper was published in PLOS Computational Biology on June 20.

"LGT from bacteria to animals was only described recently, and it is exciting to find that such transfers can be found in the genome of human somatic cells and particularly in cancer genomes," says Julie C. Dunning Hotopp, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and lead author on the paper. Dr. Hotopp also is a research scientist with the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center. "Studies applying this approach to additional cancer genome projects could be fruitful, leading us to a better understanding of the mechanisms of cancer."

In the research, a team of interdisciplinary scientists and bioinformatics researchers found that while only 63.5% of TCGA samples analyzed were from tumors, the tumor samples contained 99.9% of reads supporting bacterial integration. The data presented a compelling case that LGT occurs in the human somatic genome and that it could have an important role in cancer and other human diseases associated with mutations. It is possible that LGT mutations play a role in carcinogenesis, yet it is also possible that they could simply be passenger mutations.

The investigators suggest several competing ideas to explain the results, though more research is needed for definitive answers. One possibility is that the mutations are part of carcinogenesis, the process by which normal cells turn into cancer cells. Alternatively, tumor cells are so very rapidly proliferating that they may be more permissive to lateral gene transfer. It is also possible that the bacteria are causing these mutations because they benefit the bacteria.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health's Director's New Innovator Award Program (1-DP2-OD007372) and the NSF Microbial Sequencing Program (EF-0826732).

"This is the type of basic science research, conducted using the analysis of much publicly available genomic data, that makes us leaders in the cutting edge field of genomic science and personalized medicine," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "It is just this type of research that will lead us to a new world of personalized medicine, in which doctors can use each patient's genomic make-up to determine care and preventive measures. We are excited to be a part of this future with the outstanding work of our Institute for Genome Sciences."

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Established in 1807, the University of Maryland School of Medicine is the first public medical school in the United States, the first to institute a residency-training program. The School of Medicine was the founding school of the University of Maryland and today is an integral part of the 11-campus University System of Maryland. On the University of Maryland's Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine serves as the anchor for a large academic health center which aims to provide the best medical education, conduct the most innovative biomedical research and provide the best patient care and community service to Maryland and beyond.
About the Institute for Genome Sciences

The Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS) is an international research center within the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Comprised of an interdisciplinary, multidepartment team of investigators, the Institute uses the powerful tools of genomics and bioinformatics to understand genome function in health and disease, to study molecular and cellular networks in a variety of model systems, and to generate data and bioinformatics resources of value to the international scientific community.

Karen Robinson | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>