Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Key mechanism identified in metastatic breast cancer

05.05.2010
Researchers at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center zero in on how breast tumor cells break free and start to spread

Scientists at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center have identified a key molecular mechanism in breast cancer that enables tumor cells to spread to adjacent or distant parts of the body in a process called metastasis. This finding opens the way to new lines of research aimed at developing treatments for metastatic breast cancer.

The research, led by Peter Zhou, associate professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry at UK, focused on the process by which tumor cells stop clinging to other cells and become motile, or able to spread throughout the body. The findings were published in an article in the EMBO Journal, the flagship publication of the European Molecular Biology Organization.

The increased motility of tumor cells at the initial step of metastasis is similar to a process called epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which is required for large-scale cell movement in embryonic development, tissue remodeling and wound healing. For example, during wound healing, cells at the edge of the wound undergo a EMT process and migrate to the middle for sealing the wound.

In all EMT processes, cells lose the expression of a cell-to-cell adhesion molecule called E-cadherin, which functions as a "molecular glue" that attaches cells to one another. Breast cancer cells usurp this process for invasion and metastasis. When this molecular glue is broken down, tumor cells start to migrate and spread throughout the body.

A protein called Snail acts as a master switch in the cell's nucleus to suppress E-cadherin expression and induce EMT in the cell. Previous research has shown Snail to be elevated in many types of cancer, particularly breast cancer. High levels of Snail have been linked to metastasis, tumor cell survival and tumor recurrence, and thus predict a poor clinical outcome for women with breast cancer. However, scientists are still not clear how Snail triggers the down-regulation of E-cadherin and induces metastasis in breast cancer.

Using a protein purification approach, Zhou and his colleagues found that Snail interacts and teams up with its "partner in crime," an enzyme called LSD1, inside the cell. LSD1 is known to change the structure of DNA and shut down the expression of many genes.

LSD1, which stands for lysine-specific demethylase-1 (and is chemically unrelated to the hallucinogen LSD), regulates the structure of the chromosome by removing a key methylation at histone H3, a core component that warps the DNA into compact conformation. This event triggers the "closure" of DNA structure and shuts down gene expression, such as E-cadherin. Zhou's team showed that the N-terminal portion of Snail molecular functions as a "molecular hook" for recruiting LSD1 to the E-cadherin gene, which, in turn, shuts down the expression of E-cadherin and induces tumor cell invasion and metastasis.

"This finding has significant clinical ramification, because chemical compounds or agents that can disrupt the interaction of Snail with LSD1 will have a great therapeutic potential of treating metastatic breast cancer," Zhou said. "Scientists at the Markey Cancer Center are currently exploring this idea and are keen to develop drugs that can treat metastatic cancer."

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Approximately 90 percent of breast cancer deaths are caused by local invasion and distant metastasis of tumor cells, and the average survival after documentation of metastasis is approximately two years.

"An understanding of the mechanism underlying the biology of breast cancer metastasis will provide novel therapeutic approaches to combat this life-threatening disease," Zhou said.

The article, "The SNAG domain of Snail1 functions as a molecular hook for recruiting lysine-specific demethylase 1," received advance online publication in the EMBO Journal on April 13.

Keith Hautala | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uky.edu

Further reports about: DNA E-Cadherin EMBO EMT LSD1 breast cancer metastatic breast cancer scientists snail tumor cells wound healing

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Metallic nanoparticles will help to determine the percentage of volatile compounds

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Shallow soils promote savannas in South America

20.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>