Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery of a new reprogramming mechanism for tumor cells

05.12.2011
Nature Medicine publishes a pioneering study about a protein that regulates the expression of hundreds of genes that have a crucial role in the progression of pancreatic cancer, gliomas and possibly many other kinds of tumor

A study by researchers Raúl Méndez, ICREA Research Professor at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and Pilar Navarro at the IMIM (Institut de Recerca Hospital del Mar, Barcelona) describes a new reprogramming mechanism for the expression of genes responsible for turning a healthy cell into a tumor cell. In the study, published in this week's edition of Nature Medicine, the scientists have identified the protein CPEB4 as a "cellular orchestra conductor" that "activates" hundreds of genes associated with tumor growth.


The image shows the formation of new blood vessels in tumorous tissue do to the presence of CEPB-4. Credit: IRB Barcelona / IMIM

"The peculiarity is that it would not only be the mutation of a specific gene that promotes tumor growth but the expression of a protein in an incorrect site that "triggers" hundreds of messenger molecules (mRNAs), which transmit gene information for the synthesis of proteins, without these genes being mutated. This process leads to the expression of many "normal" genes but in unsuitable amounts and times that more greatly resemble early embryonic developmental stages rather than the stages of adult organ development", explains Raúl Méndez, an expert in the CPEB protein family. "This would be the case of tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), a protein that is not normally found in the healthy pancreas but that shows high expression in pancreatic tumors", clarifies Elena Ortiz-Zapater, the first author of the article, and Pilar Navarro.

Tumors are 80% smaller when CEPB4 is absent
One of the conclusions highlighted in the study is that in the tissues examined, pancreas and brain, CPEB4 is not detected in healthy cells but only in tumor ones. Thus inhibition of this protein would provide a highly specific anti-tumor treatment and with few adverse effects, "one of the main drawbacks of many cancer therapies", says Pilar Navarro, a researcher specialized in pancreatic cancer.

Using experiments involving human cancer cells in mice, these researchers have demonstrated that the decrease in CPEB4 levels in cancer cells reduces the size of tumors by up to 80%. Although the study is limited to two kinds of tumor, according to the co-authors, "given the effects observed in the tumors examined and the type of genes regulated by this mechanism, it is expected to be involved in many other types of cancer".

This study opens up avenues for new treatments for cancer, for which the researchers are designing and analyzing CPEB4 inhibitors of potential therapeutic interest. "The clinical applications are very promising, although intensive research is needed to identify inhibitory molecules and to test them in various models before determining their clinical potential and, in this case, their use in patients", warn Navarro and Méndez.

The study involved Francisco X. Real, at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO) and Eduardo Eyras, ICREA researcher, both from the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), together with Mar Iglesias and Francesc Alameda from the Pathology Service at Hospital del Mar.

Reference article:
Key contribution of CPEB4-mediated translational control to cancer progression.
Elena Ortiz-Zapater, David Pineda, Neus Martínez-Bosch, Gonzalo Fernández-Miranda, Mar Iglesias, Francesc Alameda, Mireia Moreno, Carolina Eliscovic, Eduardo Eyras, Francisco X. Real, Raúl Méndez and Pilar Navarro.

Nature Medicine (2011) doi:10.1038/nm.2540

Sonia Armengou | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.irbbarcelona.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown 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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>