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 How to become a T follicular helper cell
31.07.2015 | La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology

nachricht Heating and cooling with light leads to ultrafast DNA diagnostics
31.07.2015 | University of California - Berkeley

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Quantum Matter Stuck in Unrest

Using ultracold atoms trapped in light crystals, scientists from the MPQ, LMU, and the Weizmann Institute observe a novel state of matter that never thermalizes.

What happens if one mixes cold and hot water? After some initial dynamics, one is left with lukewarm water—the system has thermalized to a new thermal...

Im Focus: On the crest of the wave: Electronics on a time scale shorter than a cycle of light

Physicists from Regensburg and Marburg, Germany have succeeded in taking a slow-motion movie of speeding electrons in a solid driven by a strong light wave. In the process, they have unraveled a novel quantum phenomenon, which will be reported in the forthcoming edition of Nature.

The advent of ever faster electronics featuring clock rates up to the multiple-gigahertz range has revolutionized our day-to-day life. Researchers and...

Im Focus: Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record

Plasmonic device has speed and efficiency to serve optical computers

Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.

Im Focus: Unlocking the rice immune system

Joint BioEnergy Institute study identifies bacterial protein that is key to protecting rice against bacterial blight

A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team...

Im Focus: Smarter window materials can control light and energy

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin are one step closer to delivering smart windows with a new level of energy efficiency, engineering materials that allow windows to reveal light without transferring heat and, conversely, to block light while allowing heat transmission, as described in two new research papers.

By allowing indoor occupants to more precisely control the energy and sunlight passing through a window, the new materials could significantly reduce costs for...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Euro Bio-inspired - International Conference and Exhibition on Bio-inspired Materials

23.07.2015 | Event News

Clash of Realities – International Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games

10.07.2015 | Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine in Leipzig: Last chance to submit abstracts until 2 July

25.06.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

California 'rain debt' equal to average full year of precipitation

31.07.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

Telescopes team up to find distant Uranus-sized planet through microlensing

31.07.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum Matter Stuck in Unrest

31.07.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>