The gene, called hSDH5, is required for activation of an enzyme complex that plays a critical role in the chemical reactions that take place within cells to convert biochemical energy into usable energy. This study will be published in the journal Science, to be released online in Science Express on July 23, 2009.
Paragangliomas are rare, generally benign tumors that arise from cells called glomus cells, which are located along blood vessels and play a role in regulating blood pressure and blood flow. Approximately 25 percent of paragangliomas are hereditary. Of the four familial PGL syndromes, three forms have previously been associated with mutations in genes of the succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) complex, an enzyme complex involved in the ability of cells to extract energy from nutrients.
Studies in Yeast
“Defects in mitochondria, the power sources of the cell, have been implicated in a variety of human disorders, including cancer,” says Jared Rutter, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry at the University of Utah School of Medicine, investigator at the University’s Huntsman Cancer Institute, and lead author of the study. “Because it is incredibly difficult to perform in-depth studies in humans, we decided to use a much simpler model system, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, in order to study mitochondrial functions before going back to humans and determining whether what we learned in yeast was also relevant to humans. Following this strategy, we first characterized a mitochondrial protein called Sdh5 in yeast and then moved on to study its potential role in human disease.”
Sdh5 is a mitochondrial protein that is highly conserved, meaning that it has remained largely unchanged throughout the course of evolution and likely performs similar essential cellular functions in both yeast and humans. Rutter and his colleagues discovered that, in yeast, the Sdh5 protein is needed for the SDH complex to function normally. They also found that Sdh5 is required for activation of another protein called Sdh1 that is also part of the SDH complex.
Studies in Humans
“The amino acid sequence of yeast Sdh5 is 44 percent identical to its human counterpart, which we’ve named hSDH5. This gave us some confidence that the Sdh5 functions we discovered in yeast would also be carried out by human hSdh5,” explains Rutter. “Previous genetic studies have shown that the hereditary paragangliomas PGL1, PGL3, and PGL4 are associated with mutations causing loss of SDH activity. Although the gene for PGL2 had not been identified, we knew that it was located on the same chromosome as the hSDH5 gene.”
Rutter and his colleagues sequenced the hSDH5 gene in three individuals with PGL2 from a previously described Dutch lineage. They identified a single DNA nucleotide change which resulted in a mutation in the most conserved region of the protein. Of the 45 individuals within the affected lineage who inherited the mutation, 33 have developed PGL2, providing strong evidence that hSDH5 is the PGL2 gene. The seven individuals who inherited the mutation from their mothers are unaffected, suggesting an inheritance pattern that is specific to the parent of origin.
The researchers also discovered that, as in yeast, the inactivation of hSDH5 dramatically impaired the activity of the SDH complex, which was decreased by approximately 95% in tumors from three patients with PGL2.
Implications on Genetic Testing
The identification of hSDH5 as the PGL2 gene has potential clinical implications for patients with familial PGL syndromes. Genetic testing is suggested for the management of PGL, even when it does not seem to be inherited, in order to identify individuals who are at risk for developing tumors.
“Individuals with familial PGLs tend to be affected at a younger age with tumors at multiple sites,” says Rutter. “Including hSDH5 in DNA screening will allow for more comprehensive genetic testing, as well as earlier detection and treatment.”
Huaixiang Hao, a graduate student in Rutter’s laboratory, conducted the majority of the experiments in this study. Other study contributors include Oleh Khalimonchuk, Ph.D. and Dennis Winge, Ph.D. in the department of medicine at the University of Utah and Joshua Schiffman, M.D. and Brandon Bentz, M.D. from Huntsman Cancer Institute. Noah Dephoure, Ph.D. and Steven Gygi, Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School, as well as a number of Dutch scientists, were also involved in the study.
Jared Rutter | Newswise Science News
Further reports about: > Cancer > DNA > DNA screening > Dutch landscape > Genetic clues > Mutation > Neuroendocrine > PGL > PGL2 > SDH > Saccharomyces cerevisiae > Science TV > Sdh5 > Sdh5 protein > blood vessel > blood vessels > cellular functions > chemical reaction > hSDH5 gene > paraganglioma > succinate dehydrogenase
Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines
20.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik
Researchers find social cultures in chimpanzees
20.11.2018 | Universität Leipzig
Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.
Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.11.2018 | Life Sciences
20.11.2018 | Life Sciences