Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lab cell study shows that HOXA5 protein acts as tumor suppressor in breast cancer

20.05.2016

Many breast cancers are marked by a lack of HOXA5 protein, a gene product known to control cell differentiation and death, and lower levels of the protein correspond to poorer outcomes for patients. Now, results of a new study by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center scientists suggests a powerful role for the protein in normal breast cells, acting as a tumor suppressor that halts abnormal cell growth.

In their study published online May 9 in the journal Oncogene, scientist Saraswati Sukumar, Ph.D.; her graduate student Wei Wen Teo; and their colleagues show that cells without HOXA5 have an increased capacity to renew themselves and are more invasive than normal breast cells -- in short, they become more tumor like.


A human breast cell lacking HOXA5 (right) shows protruding structures similar to tumor cells, compared with a normal human breast cell (left).

Courtesy of Sara Sukumar, Ph.D.

"Learning more about the biological impact of the HOXA5 protein, which is absent so frequently in breast cancers, may eventually help scientists develop new therapies to treat this disease," says Sukumar.

The loss of HOXA5 leads to an increase in breast cells' "stemness and cell plasticity," meaning they can more easily revert back to an undifferentiated state where they are capable of producing more new cells, says Sukumar, a professor of oncology and pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Proteins that "promote features of plasticity will allow a tumor to thrive better," she adds.

For the study, the researchers analyzed gene expression from human breast cell lines lacking HOXA5. They found that the protein seems to help maintain several traits in normal breast cells, including the ability to adhere to other epithelial cells, and the presence of molecules marking the cells as differentiated and not capable of self-renewal like breast stem cells.

When Sukumar and the others depleted the HOXA5 protein in other breast cell lines in the lab, the cells became more immature, or "stem like," as well as more mobile. A closer look, she says, revealed that HOXA5 regulates the production of two other proteins: CD24 and E-cadherin. Without CD24, the cells begin to revert toward a stem like state, and without E-cadherin, cells lose some of the "glue" that binds them to other cells, says Sukumar.

As a result, breast cells without HOXA5 were more likely to grow aggressively in lab experiments, forming protruding structures similar to those seen as tumor cells begin to metastasize, the scientists found.

They then tested the behavior of human tumor cells with and without HOXA5 by injecting those cells into the mammary fat pad of mice. Results showed that tumor cells containing the protein carried anywhere from 10 to 17 times fewer breast stem cells, and tumors grown from the injected cells were about three times smaller than those in mice who had received tumor cells with depleted levels of HOXA5.

Sukumar and her colleagues also analyzed data from two international breast cancer genetic data sets and found that the lower the amount of HOXA5 in a tumor, the higher the grade of breast cancer in the patient. Similarly, patients with tumors containing low amounts of HOXA5 protein also had lower cancer relapse-free survival rates.

The scientists are planning further study of HOXA5's role in breast cancer, following up on this work and a study published by Sukumar's lab in 2000 that showed a connection between low levels of HOXA5 and the well-known tumor suppressor protein p53. Sukumar, who is the Barbara B. Rubenstein Professor in Oncology at the Kimmel Cancer Center, recently won a $300,000 grant from the Avon Foundation to continue the work.

###

Other Johns Hopkins scientists who contributed to the study include Vanessa F. Merino, Soonweng Cho, Preethi Korangath, Xiaohui Liang, Ren-chin Wu, Neil M. Neumann, and Andrew J. Ewald.

Funding for the study was provided by the Susan G. Komen Foundation Leadership Grant (SAC110050), the Department of Defense Center of Excellence (W81XWH-04-1-0595), the SKCCC Core grant (P30 CA006973) and the Avon Foundation Center of Excellence.

Media Contact

Vanessa Wasta
wasta@jhmi.edu
410-614-2916

 @HopkinsMedicine

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org 

Vanessa Wasta | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: CD24 breast cancer breast cells stem cells tumor cells tumor suppressor

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Computer model predicts how fracturing metallic glass releases energy at the atomic level

20.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Relax, just break it

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>