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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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy