Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research project about the genetic modification of cancer cells

21.03.2014

Better understanding of the generation of leukaemias

Tumour cells shut down certain genes in the course of the progressing degeneration or mutate these, a process that considerably accelerates the growth of the tumour.


Extract from the structure of the Dnmt3a DNA methyl transferase (red, blue and cyan) with DNA (green). The positions of mutations in tumours are represented by red and orange balls.

Illustration: University of Stuttgart

An important role in this process is played by epigenetic factors and thereby in particular DNA methyl transferase (Dnmts), i.e. enzymes that transmit methyl groups on nucleic bases of the DNA. A research group at the Chair for Biochemistry at the University of Stuttgart (Head Prof. Albert Jeltsch) is now investigating in a new project the influence of mutations in the DNA methyl transferase Dnmt3a, that are observed in many leukaemias. The scientists want to elucidate how these modifications contribute towards cancer developing. 

The fact that tumour cells shut down or mutate in the course of progressing degeneration has been known for years. Traditionally so-called tumour suppressor genes are affected by this process, that prevent cells with damages in the genome dividing and ultimately drive these cells to a controlled cell death.

However, genes are also frequently damaged or shut down, whose products are involved in the repair of DNA damages. The loss of these factors leads to an increase in mutations in the affected cells, promoting the further progression of tumours. 

The rapid development of DNA sequencing technologies has, among other things, led to the identification of many additional mutations in tumour cells. A better understanding of these somatic mutations can help to better understand the process of the tumour developing and to develop targeted therapies for defined sub-types of tumours. A new group of somatically mutated genes are so-called “epigenetic“ factors.

These factors control how strongly genes are transcribed and ultimately through this regulate how the information of the genome is implemented. This group also includes DNA methyl transferase that transmits the methyl groups to the DNA and plays a decisive role in the development of human cells.

It was recently shown that the DNA methyl transferase Dnmt3a is a focal point of somatic tumour mutations in many leukaemias. In this way, up to 30 percent of the patients show a certain mutation in the Dnmt3a gene in a sub-group of leukaemias. This mutation brings about the targeted exchange of an amino acid into another in the protein, comprising a total of 912 amino acids. 

Building on its 10 years of experience in investigating Dnmt3a, the workgroup Jeltsch is planning to investigate the effects of these and other tumour mutations in Dnmt3a in the project financed by the German Research Association DFG with the focus on the “Epigenetic Regulation of the normal haematopoiesis and its dysregulation in myeloid neoplasia“.

The results of this project will help to elucidate the tumour-inducing effect of somatic Dnmt3a tumour mutations and to understand how the modifications in the DNA methylation lead to cancer.

Further information:
Prof. Albert Jeltsch, University of Stuttgart, Chair for Biochemistry, 0711/685-64390
Email albert.jeltsch (at) ibc.uni-stuttgart.de
Andrea Mayer-Grenu, University of Stuttgart, Department of University Communication, Tel. 0711/685-82176,
Email: andrea.mayer-grenu (at) hkom.uni-stuttgart.de

Andrea Mayer-Grenu | Universität Stuttgart

Further reports about: Biochemistry DNA amino developing genes methyl modification modifications mutate mutations somatic tumour tumours

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>