Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New type of gene that regulates tumor suppressor PTEN identified

25.02.2013
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have identified a new so-called pseudogene that regulates the tumour-suppressing PTEN gene.

They hope that this pseudogene will be able to control PTEN to reverse the tumour process, make the cancer tumour more sensitive to chemotherapy and to prevent the development of resistance. The findings, which are published in the scientific journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, can be of significance in the future development of cancer drugs.

The development of tumours coincides with the activation of several cancer genes as well as the inactivation of other tumour-suppressing genes owing to damage to the DNA and to the fact that the cancer cells manage to switch off the transcription of tumour-suppressor genes. To identify what might be regulating this silencing, the researchers studied PTEN, one of the most commonly inactivated tumour-suppressor genes. It has long been believed that the switching-off process is irreversible, but the team has now shown that silenced PTEN genes in tumour cells can be 'rescued' and re-activated by a 'pseudogene', a type of gene that, unlike normal genes, does not encode an entire protein.

"We identified a new non-protein encoding pseudogene, which determines whether the expression of PTEN is to be switched on or off," says research team member Per Johnsson, doctoral student at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Oncology-Pathology. "What makes this case spectacular is that the gene only produces RNA, the protein's template. It is this RNA that, through a sequence of mechanisms, regulates PTEN. Pseudogenes have been known about for many years, but it was thought that they were only junk material."

No less than 98 per cent of human DNA consists of non-protein encoding genes (i.e. pseudogenes), and by studying these formerly neglected genes the researchers have begun to understand that they are very important and can have an effect without encoding proteins. Using model systems, the team has shown that the new pseudogene can control the expression of PTEN and make tumours more responsive to conventional chemotherapy.

"This means that we might one day be able to re-programme cancer cells to proliferate less, become more normal, and that resistance to chemotherapy can hopefully be avoided," says Per Johnsson. "We also believe that our findings can be very important for the future development of cancer drugs. What we're seeing here is just the tip of the iceberg. The human genome conceals no less than 15,000 or so pseudogenes, and it's not unreasonable to think that many of them are relevant to diseases such as cancer."

The study was conducted in collaboration with scientists at The Scripps Research Institute, USA, and the University of New South Wales, Australia, and was made possible with grants from the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation, the Swedish Cancer Society, the Cancer Research Funds of Radiumhemmet, Karolinska Institutet's KID programme for doctoral studies, the Swedish Research Council, the Erik and Edith Fernström Foundation for Medical Research, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

Publication: 'A pseudogene long noncoding RNA network regulates PTEN transcription and translation in human cells', Per Johnsson, Amanda Ackley, Linda Vidarsdottir, Weng-Onn Lui, Martin Corcoran, Dan Grandér och Kevin V. Morris, Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, AOP 24 February 2013, doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2516. Embargoed until 24 February 2013 at 1800 London time / 1900 CET / 1300 US Eastern time.

For further information, please contact:

Dan Grandér, professor of experimental oncology
Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet
Tel: +46 (0)8-517 762 62
Email: dan.grander@ki.se
Per Johnsson, doctoral student
Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet
Tel: +46 (0)8-517 79 394
Email: per.a.johnsson@ki.se
Contact the Press Office and download photos: ki.se/pressroom
Karolinska Institutet – a medical university: ki.se/english

The Press Office | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ki.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

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...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

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...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

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...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>