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.
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy