Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists reveal cells ‘energy factories’ linked to cancer

31.01.2005


University of Glasgow scientists have discovered how mitochondria - the energy factories in our cells - can sustain a cancer, reporting their findings in a new study published in Cancer Cell.



Mitochondria are complex structures that exist in cells to generate energy for growth and activity. The Cancer Research UK researchers based at the University of Glasgow’s Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow have found out how the excessive build-up of a simple metabolic molecule in mitochondria can trigger a sequence of events that leads to tumour growth.

The discovery increases our understanding of the molecular basis of several types of cancer, which is crucial for the development of new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease. Scientists know that a number of genes that code for the mitochondria’s energy generating machinery are tumour suppressors and that defects in these genes can lead to cancer. But, until now, it was unclear as to how mutations in these genes resulted in the disease.


The team looked at one of the known tumour suppressor genes called SDH, which codes for a molecule called succinate dehydrogenase. When the SDH gene is damaged, a metabolic product called succinic acid accumulates in cells. This then causes the levels of a protein called HIF-1to rise. The HIF-1 protein is normally only activated in response to certain types of crisis in the cell, such as a lack of oxygen. Under these conditions it encourages the growth of blood vessels to help cells get more oxygen.

The researchers have found the missing pieces in this puzzle. They show how the high levels of succinic acid in the cell that result from SDH mutations block the cell’s usual method of ridding the cell of HIF-1. HIF-1 levels can then build up, resulting in inappropriate growth of blood vessels, which can feed a tumour.

Dr Eyal Gottlieb, a Cancer Research UK scientist based at the University of Glasgow’s Beatson Institute in Glasgow, says: “We found that damage to the SDH gene boosts the levels of succinic acid in a cell and this, in turn, prevents the degradation of HIF-1. HIF-1 is then free to increase the expression of genes that facilitate blood vessel growth, tumour development and cancer spread.

Dr Lesley Walker, Director of Cancer Information at Cancer Research UK, says: “Mutations in SDH can predispose a person to cancer of the kidney, adrenal gland and thyroid gland. Changes in SDH activity may also be associated with stomach and bowel cancer.

“This study is exciting because it is the first to find a molecular mechanism that links mitochondrial mutations to tumour formation. Increasing our understanding of the molecular basis of cancer is crucial if we are to find new ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating the disease in the future.”

Jenny Murray | alfa
Further information:
http://www.gla.ac.uk

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

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>