The cellular oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes are analogous to the accelerator and brake pedals in a car. If an oncogene is permanently active, similar to a stuck accelerator in a car, cells divide without restraints and a tumor develops.
The c-MYC proto-oncogene is activated aberrantly in about 50% of all tumors. As a result the c-MYC protein is produced in excessive amounts, which in turn activates processes associated with cell proliferation. A group of research scientists led by Prof. Heiko Hermeking (Institute of Pathology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany) has now identified a mechanism that allows c-MYC to drive cellular proliferation in the presence of substances that would lead to a block in cell division in normal cells, as for example chemotherapeutic agents.
“In future this knowledge may allow a more specific inhibition of tumor growth” Hermeking hopes. This study has been published in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS).
Attractive target structure for cancer drugs
The c-MYC gene is a nodal point in the regulation of cellular division and is highly expressed in colorectal cancer and many other tumor types. The c-MYC protein is a transcription factor which regulates other genes, which in turn mediate the effects of c-MYC on cell proliferation. “In order to understand the origin of cancer it is therefore important to identify genes and mechanisms that mediate the effects of c-MYC on cells” Prof. Hermeking explained. Because of its central position in the regulation of cell proliferation c-MYC is an attractive target structure for cancer therapeutic agents.
Signaling chain unraveled in detail
Prof. Hermeking’s research team determined how c-MYC promotes proliferation. They were able to demonstrate that c-MYC activates the AP4 gene, which results in the synthesis of AP4 protein. AP4 protein in turn suppresses the formation of a central inhibitor of cellular division (p21) by occupying its regulatory region within the genome. Thereby tumor cells become refractory to substances, e.g. chemotherapeutic agents, which block cell division in normal cells.
Instead of terminating proliferation the tumor cells undergo cell death. Moreover, the scientists discovered that colorectal carcinomas, in contrast to normal colon tissue, generally produce large amounts of the AP4 protein. In the future, the knowledge about this signaling cascade could enable a more targeted prevention of cancer cell proliferation. The project is supported by the German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe e.V.).
Prof. Dr. Heiko Hermeking | alfa
In depression the brain region for stress control is larger
20.09.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften
Interfacial engineering core@shell nanoparticles for active and selective direct H2O2 generation
19.09.2018 | Science China Press
The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.
This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.
Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...
Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.
"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...
A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.
Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...
Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.
An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...
03.09.2018 | Event News
27.08.2018 | Event News
17.08.2018 | Event News
20.09.2018 | Earth Sciences
20.09.2018 | Earth Sciences
20.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy