Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene switch important in cancer discovered

02.11.2012
Scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the University of Helsinki in Finland have shown that the 'switches' that regulate the expression of genes play a major role in the development of cancer.

In a study, published in Science, they have investigated a gene region that contains a particular single nucleotide variant associated with increased risk for developing colorectal and prostate cancers - and found that removing this region caused dramatic resistance to tumor formation.

Genome-wide association studies have revealed genomic regions associated with more than 200 diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and different types of cancer. The unveiled human genetic variation has attracted much attention in both scientific and popular press. However, the mechanisms by which these genomic regions act are not fully understood. One suggestion that has generated considerable interest is the possibility that the risk polymorphisms located far from genes could function as gene regulatory elements or 'switches' that regulate expression of genes.

In the current study, which was conducted in mice, scientists have analyzed one particular single nucleotide variant in a region associated with increased risk for developing colorectal and prostate cancers, but whose mechanism of action has been unclear. Although this variant increases cancer risk only by 20 per cent, it is very common and therefore accounts for more inherited cancer than any other currently known genetic variant or mutation.

The scientists removed the gene region containing the risk variant from the mouse genome, and found that as a result the mice were healthy but displayed a small decrease in the expression of a nearby cancer gene, called MYC. However, when these mice were tested for the ability to form tumours after activation of an oncogenic signal that causes colorectal cancer in humans, they showed dramatic resistance to tumor formation. The removed gene region thus appears to act as an important gene switch promoting cancer, and without it tumors develop much more rarely.

According to the scientists, these results show that although the gene variants - which make individual humans different from each other - in general have a small impact on disease development, the gene switches in which they reside can play a major role.

"Our study also highlights that growth of normal cells and cancer cells is driven by different gene switches, suggesting that further work to find ways to control the activity of such disease-specific switches could lead to novel, highly specific approaches for therapeutic intervention", says Professor Jussi Taipale, who led the study.

The work was supported by the Center for Biosciences at Karolinska Institutet, the Karolinska University Hospital, the Science for Life Laboratory, the Academy of Finland’s Center of Excellence in Cancer Genetics Research, the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Cancer Foundation, the European Research Council, and the EU FP7 Health project SYSCOL.

Publication: 'Mice Lacking a Myc Enhancer Element that Includes Human SNP rs6983267 Are Resistant to Intestinal Tumors', Sur, I., Hallikas, O., Vähärautio, A., Yan, J., Turunen, M., Enge, M., Taipale, M., Karhu, A., Aaltonen, L. A., and Taipale, J., Science, online 1 November 2012.

Caption: Jussi Taipale, photo credit to Ulf Sirborn.
For more information, please contact:
Jussi Taipale, Professor
Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet
Tel: +46(0)72 282 4847
Email: Jussi.taipale@ki.se
Inderpreet Sur, PhD
Clinical Research Center, Karolinska University Hospital
Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet
Tel: +46 (0)8-58586895
Email: Inderpreet.sur@karolinska.se
Martin Enge, PhD
Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet
Tel: +46 (0)8-58586895
Email: martin.enge@ki.se

Katarina Sternudd | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se
http://ki.se/pressroom

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Using fragment-based approaches to discover new antibiotics
21.06.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)

nachricht Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Better model of water under extreme conditions could aid understanding of Earth's mantle

21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

What are the effects of coral reef marine protected areas?

21.06.2018 | Life Sciences

The Janus head of the South Asian monsoon

21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>