Dr. Jon Horowitz, associate professor of molecular biomedical sciences, and a team of NC State researchers looked at the protein SP2, which regulates the activity of other genes.
They knew that elevated amounts of SP2 had been observed in human prostate-cancer patients, and that these levels only increased as the tumors became more dangerous. They then showed that precisely the same thing occurs in mouse skin tumors.
Horowitz and the team decided to look at SP2 as a possible cause of tumor formation in epithelial cell-derived tumors, which comprise about 80 percent of all human tumors; epithelial cells cover the body’s internal and external surfaces. They found that overproduction of the SP2 protein in epithelial stem cells stopped them from spawning mature descendants. The affected stem cells, unable to produce mature cells, just kept proliferating, resulting in the formation of tumors.
The researchers’ results are published in the Nov. 3 edition of the journal Cancer Research.
“Something happens to normal stem cells that changes the way SP2 is regulated, and it starts being overproduced,” Horowitz says. “SP2 basically hijacks the stem cell, and turns it into its evil twin – a cancer cell.”
Now that the link between tumor formation and SP2 has been shown, Horowitz says, scientists can turn their attention to looking at ways to target the overproduction of this protein. “Our hope is that we can find an ‘antidote’ to SP2, to restore normal cell proliferation to those cancer stem cells and reverse the process.”
The research was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences is part of NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Note to editors: Abstract of the paper follows.“Overexpression of Transcription Factor Sp2 Inhibits Epidermal Differentiation and Increases Susceptibility to Wound and Carcinogen-Induced Tumorigenesis”
Published: Nov. 3 in Cancer Research
Abstract: Sp proteins are evolutionarily-conserved transcription factors required for the expression of a wide variety of genes that are critical for development and cell-cycle progression. De-regulated expression of certain Sp proteins is associated with the formation of a variety of human tumors, however direct evidence that any given Sp protein is oncogenic has been lacking. Here we report that Sp2 protein abundance in mice increases in concert with the progression of carcinogen-induced murine squamous cell carcinomas. Transgenic mice specifically overexpressing murine Sp2 in epidermal basal keratinocytes were highly susceptible to wound- and carcinogen-induced papillomagenesis. Transgenic animals that were homozygous rather than hemizygous for the Sp2 transgene exhibited a striking arrest in the epidermal differentiation program, perishing within two weeks of birth. Our results directly support the likelihood that Sp2 overexpression occurring in various human cancers has significant functional impact.
Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function
27.03.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University
Big data approach to predict protein structure
27.03.2017 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
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...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences