Developmental biologists at the University of Georgia are discovering new roles for a specific gene known as Max's Giant Associated protein, or MGA. A little studied protein, MGA appears to control a number of developmental processes, and also may be connected to cancer development.
The researchers detail their findings in a paper published recently in the journal Developmental Cell.
Scott Dougan is a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scientist in the University of Georgia's Department of Cellular Biology.
"The same genes that are involved in building a person during embryonic development can mutate and cause cancer later in life," said Scott Dougan the study's principal investigator and Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scientist in UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of cellular biology. "No one has done a systematic study of MGA, but now that some studies connect it to cancer, there is tremendous interest."
The most common cancer associated with MGA is chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a blood and bone marrow disease in which the body produces too many white blood cells. Preliminary tests suggest that this cancer might develop when MGA does not successfully control the activities of another protein known as MYC, which contributes to tumor growth.
Dougan and his team of researchers used their own methods to change the levels of MGA in the embryos of zebrafish to see if they could discover any other roles for MGA.
They found that MGA also helps control expression of the Bone Morphogenetic Proteins, or BMP, which, as the name implies, are responsible for bone development in the embryo. In adults, however, changes in BMP activity can result in tumor development, and MGA may be part of this detrimental transformation.
"Scientists are only beginning to understand the roles this MGA protein plays, but our tests show that MGA may control many more processes than first imagined," said Dougan, who is also a member of UGA's Developmental Biology Alliance. "MGA may be involved in a number of other cancers, but we need to do more research before we're sure."
In the coming months, Dougan and his research team plan to further examine the roles of MGA to determine when it controls MYC, when it controls BMP and how it is involved in tumor formation.
"This is basic science, and we need investigations like these to understand the fundamentals of our biology," Dougan said. "Once we have this understanding, we can begin to develop new therapies to treat diseases in new, more effective ways."
Other researchers on this project include Yuhua Sun, Wei-Chia Tseng, Xiang Fan and Rebecca Ball. A full copy of the paper in Developmental Cell is available at: http://www.cell.com/developmental-cell/abstract/S1534-5807(14)00026-4
Scott Dougan | EurekAlert!
How Invasive Plants Influence an Ecosystem
28.07.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Perseus translates proteomics data
27.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Transparent electronics devices are present in today’s thin film displays, solar cells, and touchscreens. The future will bring flexible versions of such devices. Their production requires printable materials that are transparent and remain highly conductive even when deformed. Researchers at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials have combined a new self-assembling nano ink with an imprint process to create flexible conductive grids with a resolution below one micrometer.
To print the grids, an ink of gold nanowires is applied to a substrate. A structured stamp is pressed on the substrate and forces the ink into a pattern. “The...
A new Fraunhofer MEVIS method conveys medical interrelationships quickly and intuitively with innovative visualization technology
On the monitor, a brain spins slowly and can be examined from every angle. Suddenly, some sections start glowing, first on the side and then the entire back of...
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Ames Laboratory have discovered an unusual property of purple bronze that may point to new ways to achieve high temperature superconductivity.
While studying purple bronze, a molybdenum oxide, researchers discovered an unconventional charge density wave on its surface.
Munich Physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.
Temporally varying electromagnetic fields are the driving force behind the whole of electronics. Their polarities can change at mind-bogglingly fast rates, and...
Breakup of continents with two speed: Continents initially stretch very slowly along the future splitting zone, but then move apart very quickly before the onset of rupture. The final speed can be up to 20 times faster than in the first, slow extension phase.phases
Present-day continents were shaped hundreds of millions of years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. Derived from Pangaea’s main fragments Gondwana...
15.07.2016 | Event News
15.07.2016 | Event News
11.07.2016 | Event News
29.07.2016 | Health and Medicine
29.07.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
28.07.2016 | Information Technology