Mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) play an important role in the development of prostate cancer, according to research by scientists at Emory University School of Medicine and the University of California, Irvine. The findings are published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Mitochondrial DNA, which is separate from nuclear DNA, is found in the hundreds of mitochondria located in the cytoplasm outside of each cells nucleus. The mitochondria often are called the "powerhouse" of the cell because they produce about 90 percent of the bodys energy.
John A. Petros, MD, associate professor of urology and pathology at Emory University School of Medicine and the Winship Cancer Institute, and Douglas C. Wallace, PhD, director of the Center for Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine and Genetics at the University of California, Irvine, sequenced segments of mtDNA from prostate cancer patients and found a variety of mutations, including various mutations in the mtDNA cytochrome oxidase subunit (COI) gene.
They then sequenced the COI gene in 260 prostate cancer tissue samples or blood cells from patients with confirmed cancer who had undergone radical prostatectomies between 1995 and 2002, and 54 tissue samples from patients who had prostate biopsies but were found to be cancer free. Twelve percent of all the prostate cancer samples had mutations in the COI gene, while less than 2 percent of the samples from patients found to be cancer free harbored mutations in this gene. In a control sample of 1,019 individuals from the general population, 7.8 percent had mutations in the COI gene. The researchers found both germ-line (inherited) and somatic (acquired) mutations in the prostate cancer samples.
Holly Korschun | EurekAlert!
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