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
Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'
23.01.2018 | Rutgers University
Researchers identify a protein that keeps metastatic breast cancer cells dormant
23.01.2018 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.
Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
23.01.2018 | Life Sciences
23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy