The responsible genes have so far remained elusive, but one of the research teams that had been on a pancreatic cancer gene hunt for years now reports success: Teri Brentnall (University of Washington), David Whitcomb (University of Pittsburgh), and colleagues publish the identification of the palladin gene as the one mutated in a large family they had been studying for a while.
Family X, as it is referred to, has 18 members from 4 generations who had either pancreatic cancer or precancerous lesions of the pancreas. Tracing the DNA segments that are shared by these patients but not present in the healthy family members, the researchers had previously mapped the gene to a relatively small region of chromosome 4, which contains 243 known genes. They then made a gene chip that can measure expression levels of these 243 candidate genes and compared normal pancreas tissue with cancerous pancreas (both from a Family X member and from unrelated patients with pancreatic cancer).
Palladin, one of the 243 genes, turned out to be abnormally highly expressed in both the Family X tissue and the sporadic cancers. Named after the 16th century Italian architect Palladio, palladin codes for a component of the cytoskeleton (the scaffold that helps to control cell shape and motility). Next, the researchers quantified the expression of palladin RNA in an independent set of normal and cancerous pancreatic samples, and in precancerous pancreatic tissue taken from family X members. This analysis indicated that palladin was overexpressed early in sporadic and inherited pancreatic cancer development. Sequencing of the palladin gene then uncovered a mutation in palladin that was present in Family X members with pancreatic cancer or precancerous lesions but not in unaffected members. Finally, the researchers showed that the introduction of mutated palladin into a human cell line growing in the laboratory increased its migration rate and disrupted its cytoskeleton (both features typical of cancer cells).
These results leave little doubt that mutated palladin is involved in the development of pancreatic cancer in Family X. Moreover, they suggest that overexpression of palladin is also associated with and possibly responsible for a sizeable proportion of sporadic pancreatic cancers. The identification of palladin as a “pancreatic cancer gene” provides researchers with a molecular entry point into the cellular processes underlying this cancer and will hopefully help to improve diagnosis and development of new treatments for this deadly disease.
Andrew Hyde | alfa
Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
11.12.2017 | Information Technology