Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

LCSB researchers characterise a new tumour syndrome

14.10.2014

Scientists at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg have published their findings that mutations in a gene known as “ARMC5” promote the growth of benign tumours in the adrenal glands and on the meninges: ARMC5 appears to belong to the group of so-called tumour suppressor genes. It is the first time in years that scientists have characterized such a gene.

The ARMC5 gene was discovered by independent workgroups studying benign tumours – so-called adrenal adenomas – in connection with Cushing’s syndrome. In this disease, the body produces too much of the hormone cortisol. Now, for the first time, a mutation of ARMC5 has been characterized as the cause behind the growth of meningeal tumours.

The results on this tumour syndrome, obtained by the group of Dr. Patrick May and PD. Dr. Jochen Schneider together with colleagues from Charité Berlin (Dr. Ulf Elbelt) and the Universities of Würzburg (Prof. Dr. Bruno Allolio) and Cologne (Dr. Michael Kloth), have been published recently in the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism” ( DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/jc.2014-2648).

Cortisol is an important hormone. It influences many metabolic pathways in the body and has a suppressing effect on the immune system. Accordingly, it is commonly employed as an anti-inflammatory medication. Prolonged, elevated levels of cortisol in the body can lead to obesity, muscular dystrophy, depression and other symptoms.

To maintain the correct concentration in the blood, the body has a refined regulation system: Certain areas of the brain produce the hormone corticotropin as a stimulator of cortisol release; the actual formation of cortisol takes place in the adrenal glands. As the concentration of cortisol in the blood rises, the brain reduces the production of corticotropin.

In search of the causes of Cushing’s syndrome, scientists recently encountered certain genetic causes of benign tumours of the adrenal cortex. Growth of these adrenal cortex adenomas is based on a combination of hereditary and spontaneous mutations: It affects people in whom one of two “alternative copies” – one of the so-called alleles – of the ARMC5 gene is mutated from birth.

If the second allele of ARMC5 later also undergoes a spontaneous mutation in the adrenal cortex, then the gene no longer functions. “What is interesting is that the failure of ARMC5 has no direct influence on cortisol production. However, because the tumour cells multiply faster than other body cells, and the number of cells in the tumour increases, the blood cortisol level rises in the course of the disease”, says Dr Schneider. Then, the cortisol level in the body rises and ultimately results in the onset of Cushing’s syndrome.

When other scientific workgroups discovered that further benign tumours – in this case meningeal tumours – occur more often in ARMC5-Cushing families, the group of Patrick May and Jochen Schneider sequenced the ARMC5 gene and studied it using bioinformatic techniques. “We demonstrated for the first time, in a patient with an adrenal cortex tumour and simultaneously a meningeal tumour, that somatic, that is non-hereditary, ARMC5 mutations are present in both tumours. This observation suggests that ARMC5 is a true tumour-suppressor gene.”

It must now be explored, Schneider continues, to what extent patients with adrenal cortex tumours ought to be screened for simultaneous presence of meningioma, and in which other types of tumour ARMC5 mutations are responsible for tumour growth: “Building upon that, we can learn whether the gene and the metabolic pathways it influences offer new approaches for treating the tumour syndrome.”

Weitere Informationen:

http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/jc.2014-2648 - Link to the publication
http://wwwen.uni.lu/lcsb/news_events/cushing_s_syndrome_lcsb_researchers_charact... - Link to the pressrelease
http://wwwen.uni.lu/lcsb - Link to the LCSB

Sophie Kolb | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>