Sometimes, these mechanisms lose their efficiency and some of the genes that should be “switched off” remain active. This, in turn, could lead to uncontrolled cellular proliferation, and tumorigenesis. These mechanisms, present both in lower organisms as well as in mammals, have always been thought to be separated and independent.
The work, which appears on the cover this week in the June issue of the prestigious journal Cancer Cell, carried out by researchers of the Differentiation and Cancer Programme, at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), in Barcelona (Spain), demonstrates the cross-talk between these two gene silencing mechanisms in patients suffering from acute leukemia. The work, led by the ICREA researcher Luciano Di Croce, head of the group Epigenetics and Cancer, at the CRG, performed in collaboration with Kristian Helin’s group, at the Biotech Research and Innovation Centre in Copenhagen (Denmark), and Dr. Nomdedeu’s group, at the Santa Creu and Sant Pau Hospital, in Barcelona, will have important consequences in the development of new anti-tumor therapies. On the one hand, the study shows a better understanding of the basic mechanisms of gene regulation and, on the other hand, identifies a possible new pathway to reactivate erroneously “switched off” genes in tumors. In 2002, in a study published in Science, Di Croce showed that uncontrolled DNA methylation contributed to tumor progression in its first stages. Less than a year ago, Di Croce’s group described, in another study published in Nature, the biochemical connection between the Polycomb protein complex and the enzymes methylating the DNA (DNA methyltransferases).
In this new study, Di Croce has shown that the two mechanisms are not only interconnected in leukemic cells, but also that one reinforces the other and, more importantly, that one needs the other. Therefore - and this is one of the most interesting aspects of the investigation - if one of these mechanisms is blocked by specific drugs, the other will also be affected. The results achieved will allow, in the future, identifying new chemical compounds able to block both mechanisms simultaneously and exclusively, without altering other cellular mechanisms. For these reasons, this is one of the new investigations lines recently adopted by the group led by Di Croce.
Gloria Lligadas | alfa
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Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
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Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
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An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
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Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
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