Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery of a new reprogramming mechanism for tumor cells

05.12.2011
Nature Medicine publishes a pioneering study about a protein that regulates the expression of hundreds of genes that have a crucial role in the progression of pancreatic cancer, gliomas and possibly many other kinds of tumor

A study by researchers Raúl Méndez, ICREA Research Professor at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and Pilar Navarro at the IMIM (Institut de Recerca Hospital del Mar, Barcelona) describes a new reprogramming mechanism for the expression of genes responsible for turning a healthy cell into a tumor cell. In the study, published in this week's edition of Nature Medicine, the scientists have identified the protein CPEB4 as a "cellular orchestra conductor" that "activates" hundreds of genes associated with tumor growth.


The image shows the formation of new blood vessels in tumorous tissue do to the presence of CEPB-4. Credit: IRB Barcelona / IMIM

"The peculiarity is that it would not only be the mutation of a specific gene that promotes tumor growth but the expression of a protein in an incorrect site that "triggers" hundreds of messenger molecules (mRNAs), which transmit gene information for the synthesis of proteins, without these genes being mutated. This process leads to the expression of many "normal" genes but in unsuitable amounts and times that more greatly resemble early embryonic developmental stages rather than the stages of adult organ development", explains Raúl Méndez, an expert in the CPEB protein family. "This would be the case of tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), a protein that is not normally found in the healthy pancreas but that shows high expression in pancreatic tumors", clarifies Elena Ortiz-Zapater, the first author of the article, and Pilar Navarro.

Tumors are 80% smaller when CEPB4 is absent
One of the conclusions highlighted in the study is that in the tissues examined, pancreas and brain, CPEB4 is not detected in healthy cells but only in tumor ones. Thus inhibition of this protein would provide a highly specific anti-tumor treatment and with few adverse effects, "one of the main drawbacks of many cancer therapies", says Pilar Navarro, a researcher specialized in pancreatic cancer.

Using experiments involving human cancer cells in mice, these researchers have demonstrated that the decrease in CPEB4 levels in cancer cells reduces the size of tumors by up to 80%. Although the study is limited to two kinds of tumor, according to the co-authors, "given the effects observed in the tumors examined and the type of genes regulated by this mechanism, it is expected to be involved in many other types of cancer".

This study opens up avenues for new treatments for cancer, for which the researchers are designing and analyzing CPEB4 inhibitors of potential therapeutic interest. "The clinical applications are very promising, although intensive research is needed to identify inhibitory molecules and to test them in various models before determining their clinical potential and, in this case, their use in patients", warn Navarro and Méndez.

The study involved Francisco X. Real, at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas (CNIO) and Eduardo Eyras, ICREA researcher, both from the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), together with Mar Iglesias and Francesc Alameda from the Pathology Service at Hospital del Mar.

Reference article:
Key contribution of CPEB4-mediated translational control to cancer progression.
Elena Ortiz-Zapater, David Pineda, Neus Martínez-Bosch, Gonzalo Fernández-Miranda, Mar Iglesias, Francesc Alameda, Mireia Moreno, Carolina Eliscovic, Eduardo Eyras, Francisco X. Real, Raúl Méndez and Pilar Navarro.

Nature Medicine (2011) doi:10.1038/nm.2540

Sonia Armengou | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.irbbarcelona.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A new molecular player involved in T cell activation
07.12.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

nachricht News About a Plant Hormone
07.12.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

Im Focus: Substitute for rare earth metal oxides

New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals

Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.

Im Focus: A bit of a stretch... material that thickens as it's pulled

Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.

Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...

Im Focus: The force of the vacuum

Scientists from the Theory Department of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg have shown through theoretical calculations and computer simulations that the force between electrons and lattice distortions in an atomically thin two-dimensional superconductor can be controlled with virtual photons. This could aid the development of new superconductors for energy-saving devices and many other technical applications.

The vacuum is not empty. It may sound like magic to laypeople but it has occupied physicists since the birth of quantum mechanics.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

Inaugural "Virtual World Tour" scheduled for december

28.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new molecular player involved in T cell activation

07.12.2018 | Life Sciences

High-temperature electronics? That's hot

07.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

Supercomputers without waste heat

07.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>