A team of scientists from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI Singapore) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and their collaborators from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute have found that a novel noncoding ribonucleic acid (RNA) offers the potential for "switching on" of tumour suppressors that have been shut off.
The research group, led by Professor Daniel Tenen, Director of CSI Singapore, demonstrated for first time that RNA interacts with an enzyme essential for DNA methylation, known as DNA methyl transferase 1 (DNMT1), offering strategies for the treatment of diseases such as cancer.
In this study, the researchers focused on a new class of RNAs, which is critical in regulating DNA methylation. This is a process in which certain building blocks of DNA, the genetic code, are chemically modified without resulting in a change in the code itself. DNA methylation is associated with silencing of gene expression and found in many diseases. For example, in cancer, genes called tumour suppressors, which inhibit tumour formation, are often silenced or shut off in the cancer cells, and this is associated with DNA methylation.
This novel study was first published online in the research journal Nature on 9 October 2013.
How the novel noncoding RNA inhibits DNA methylation
The study focused on this novel noncoding RNA in a specific tumour suppressor, known as CEBPA. The silencing of CEPBA is associated with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, lung cancer and other types of cancer. The scientists demonstrated that the noncoding RNA binds to the enzyme DNMT1 and prevents DNA methylation of the CEBPA gene. This principle, which is likely to extend to thousands of other genes, can potentially be used to "switch on" tumour suppressors that have been shut off.
Prof Tenen said, “We started out by studying the noncoding RNA to satisfy our scientific curiosity. In the process, we discovered the novel finding that RNA inhibits methylation and experimentally, we can introduce RNAs to ‘switch on’ tumour suppressors which have been shut off. Our results suggest strategies for gene-selective demethylation of therapeutic targets in human diseases such as cancer.”
In the next phase of their research, the scientists will look into developing tools for targeted activation of other tumour suppressors, besides CEBPA, and investigate the role of RNA in regulating other epigenetic marks.
Kimberley Wang | Newswise
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences