Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Scientists discover gene mutation responsible for hereditary neuroendocrine tumor

A single nucleotide change in the SDH5 gene confers tumor susceptibility

University of Utah researchers and their colleagues have identified the gene that is mutated in a hereditary form of a rare neuroendocrine tumor called paraganglioma (PGL).

The gene, called hSDH5, is required for activation of an enzyme complex that plays a critical role in the chemical reactions that take place within cells to convert biochemical energy into usable energy. This study will be published in the journal Science, to be released online in Science Express on July 23, 2009.

Paragangliomas are rare, generally benign tumors that arise from cells called glomus cells, which are located along blood vessels and play a role in regulating blood pressure and blood flow. Approximately 25 percent of paragangliomas are hereditary. Of the four familial PGL syndromes, three forms have previously been associated with mutations in genes of the succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) complex, an enzyme complex involved in the ability of cells to extract energy from nutrients.

Studies in Yeast

"Defects in mitochondria, the power sources of the cell, have been implicated in a variety of human disorders, including cancer," says Jared Rutter, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry at the University of Utah School of Medicine, investigator at the University's Huntsman Cancer Institute, and lead author of the study. "Because it is incredibly difficult to perform in-depth studies in humans, we decided to use a much simpler model system, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, in order to study mitochondrial functions before going back to humans and determining whether what we learned in yeast was also relevant to humans. Following this strategy, we first characterized a mitochondrial protein called Sdh5 in yeast and then moved on to study its potential role in human disease."

Sdh5 is a mitochondrial protein that is highly conserved, meaning that it has remained largely unchanged throughout the course of evolution and likely performs similar essential cellular functions in both yeast and humans. Rutter and his colleagues discovered that, in yeast, the Sdh5 protein is needed for the SDH complex to function normally. They also found that Sdh5 is required for activation of another protein called Sdh1 that is also part of the SDH complex.

Studies in Humans

"The amino acid sequence of yeast Sdh5 is 44 percent identical to its human counterpart, which we've named hSDH5. This gave us some confidence that the Sdh5 functions we discovered in yeast would also be carried out by human hSdh5," explains Rutter. "Previous genetic studies have shown that the hereditary paragangliomas PGL1, PGL3, and PGL4 are associated with mutations causing loss of SDH activity. Although the gene for PGL2 had not been identified, we knew that it was located on the same chromosome as the hSDH5 gene."

Rutter and his colleagues sequenced the hSDH5 gene in three individuals with PGL2 from a previously described Dutch lineage. They identified a single DNA nucleotide change which resulted in a mutation in the most conserved region of the protein. Of the 45 individuals within the affected lineage who inherited the mutation, 33 have developed PGL2, providing strong evidence that hSDH5 is the PGL2 gene. The seven individuals who inherited the mutation from their mothers are unaffected, suggesting an inheritance pattern that is specific to the parent of origin.

The researchers also discovered that, as in yeast, the inactivation of hSDH5 dramatically impaired the activity of the SDH complex, which was decreased by approximately 95% in tumors from three patients with PGL2.

Implications on Genetic Testing

The identification of hSDH5 as the PGL2 gene has potential clinical implications for patients with familial PGL syndromes. Genetic testing is suggested for the management of PGL, even when it does not seem to be inherited, in order to identify individuals who are at risk for developing tumors.

"Individuals with familial PGLs tend to be affected at a younger age with tumors at multiple sites," says Rutter. "Including hSDH5 in DNA screening will allow for more comprehensive genetic testing, as well as earlier detection and treatment."

Huaixiang Hao, a graduate student in Rutter's laboratory, conducted the majority of the experiments in this study. Other study contributors include Oleh Khalimonchuk, Ph.D. and Dennis Winge, Ph.D. in the department of medicine at the University of Utah and Joshua Schiffman, M.D. and Brandon Bentz, M.D. from Huntsman Cancer Institute. Noah Dephoure, Ph.D. and Steven Gygi, Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School, as well as a number of Dutch scientists, were also involved in the study.

Kathy Wilets | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Cancer DNA Dutch landscape Genetic clues PGL PGL2 SDH Science TV Sdh5 blood vessel chemical reaction hSDH5 gene

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular doorstop could be key to new tuberculosis drugs
20.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

nachricht Modified biomaterials self-assemble on temperature cues
20.03.2018 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>