The findings could help predict whether breast tumors will metastasize and also reveal potential drug targets for preventing metastasis. The study will appear in the May 20th online edition of the Journal of Cell Science.
A few years ago, Einstein scientists discovered a gene called ZBP1 (zipcode binding protein 1), which helps cells to move, grow and organize spatially. "ZBP1 is very active in the developing embryo but largely silent in adult tissues," says Robert H. Singer, Ph.D., professor and co-chair of anatomy and structural biology and co-director of the Gruss-Lipper Biophotonics Center at Einstein. He is one of ZBP1's discoverers and leader of the current study.
Researchers have subsequently found that ZBP1 is reactivated in several types of cancer, including breast, colorectal, and non-small cell lung cancers; but the gene is silenced in metastasizing cancer cells, as was shown by Dr. Singer and another Einstein scientist, John Condeelis, Ph.D., who also is co-chair of anatomy and structural biology and co-director of the Gruss-Lipper Biophotonics Center at Einstein. The purpose of the current study was to find how the ZBP1 gene is activated and silenced and how it influences the spread of breast cancer.
After examining mouse, rat, and human breast cancer cells, Dr. Singer and his team found that ZBP1 silencing occurs when a methyl group (CH3) attaches to ZBP1's promoter region (the segment of a gene where gene expression is initiated). The attachment of CH3 prevents the promoter from binding to a protein called beta-catenin. And without beta-catenin, the ZBP1 gene is effectively silenced.
The study also showed that the silencing of ZBP1 increases cancer cells' ability to migrate and promotes the proliferation of metastatic cells.
The findings have important implications for forecasting breast cancer outcomes. According to the researchers, signs of ZBP1 silencing in breast cancer cells would indicate that a breast tumor is likely to spread©¤information that would help in choosing a treatment strategy.
The study also points to potential targets for drug treatment. "If you could turn on this protein in cancer cells, or prevent it from being turned off, you could seriously reduce the ability of the cells to metastasize," says Dr. Singer.
The research team is investigating whether the ZBP1 gene in cancer cells could be reactivated¡ªand the cells prevented from metastasizing¡ªby selectively removing CH3 from the ZBP1 promoter.
The paper, "Increased proliferation and migration of breast metastatic cells results from ZBP1 repression by blocking beta-catenin promoter binding," is published in the May 20, 2009, online edition of the Journal of Cell Science. Wei Gu, M.D., Ph.D., instructor in anatomy and structural biology at Einstein, is the lead author. Feng Pan, Ph.D., now at NYU School of Medicine, is a co-author.
How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH
A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology