Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

CNIO researchers discover that a gene known to protect against cancer can also promote tumor growth

13.03.2012
The authors, from Oscar Fernandez Capetillo's group, have identified this double-edged property in the gene Chk1, an established tumor suppressor

Can a gene simultaneously protect against cancer and favor its growth? Researchers at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre have discovered a gene with this double-edged property and suspect there may be many more that share it. In the words of Oscar Fernandez Capetillo, head of the group responsible for the study, this gene "can be both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in that it can either protect us against the appearance of tumors or promote tumor growth".

The study, appears this week in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, with Andreìs J. Loìpez-Contreras and Paula Gutieìrrez Martiìnez as first authors, focuses on the activity of Chk1, a gene known for its tumour suppressing effect. It is what Fernaìndez-Capetillo calls "a genome guardian, a gene that keeps our genome free of mutations and, therefore, protects against the development of tumours".

The team wished to ascertain whether the tumour-protective effect of Chk1 was magnified in organisms with a larger quantity of the protein it codes for, so they created a mouse with three copies of the gene instead of the normal two. They then extracted and cultured the animal's cells and turned them cancerous with the aid of other genes. What they observed confounded all expectations: the cells became malignant more easily when carrying an extra copy of Chk1.

The reason for this paradox is that Chk1 has a beneficial effect on healthy cells, but also benefits tumour cells once they have established themselves in the body.

The dual role of Chk1

"Initially, Chk1 prevents the appearance of tumours, by limiting the spontaneous mutations that take place in our cells", remarks Fernaìndez Capetillo. "This is the Dr. Jekyll side. However, advanced tumours exhibit extensive damage to their DNA and it is here that Chk1 comes to the tumour's aid by reducing the damage built up in its genome", he continues.

Chk1 works by protecting against replicative stress, a kind of damage that occurs in cells' genetic material as they divide. Some tumours indeed suffer continuous lesions in their genome due to their high division rates.

"The presence of 'genome guardians' like Chk1 may favour the growth of this kind of tumour by lessening its lesion load", explains Loìpez-Contreras.

"This study sheds light on why Chk1 is overexpressed in many tumours, when we would intuitively suppose that what favours the development of cancer is the loss of protective genes," the scientist concludes.

Juan J. Gómez | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cnio.es

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>