Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Loss of Cilia Leads to Melanoma

02.07.2018

Most cells in the human body have a cilium, a slender cell protuberance that picks up signals from the cell’s external environment. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now shown that these fine sensory antennae play a key role in the formation of melanoma. When cilia are prevented from developing in benign pigment cells, the cells degenerate and develop an aggressive form of melanoma.

Melanomas are one of the most aggressive types of tumors in humans. Despite remarkable success with new forms of treatment such as immunotherapies, there are still many melanoma patients who cannot be cured or who later suffer a recurrence of the disease following successful treatment. An in-depth understanding of the tumor’s biology is thus essential for developing novel therapeutic approaches. The main question is which changes in a benign cell cause it to progress into a malignant tumor.


Pigment cells (blue/green) with cilium (light green with red base).

Daniel Zingg, Netherlands Cancer Institute

Formation and spread of melanoma also regulated epigenetically

A team of researchers led by Lukas Sommer, professor at the Institute of Anatomy at the University of Zurich (UZH), has now been able to show that in addition to genetic causes such as mutations in the DNA, epigenetic factors also play a role in the formation and spread of melanoma. While epigenetic factors don’t directly influence the gene sequence, they do regulate how efficiently certain genes are transcribed in the cells. The UZH researchers focused on the EZH2 protein, which – unlike in benign cells – is very common in melanoma cells and plays a central role in melanoma formation.

EZH2 suppresses ciliary genes and leads to metastasis

To find out how epigenetic factors contribute to the melanoma’s aggressive behavior, the scientists examined all the genes that are regulated by EZH2. “We were very surprised to find many genes that are jointly responsible for the formation of cilia,” says study leader Sommer. It seems that cilia genes are suppressed by EZH2, which means that malignant melanoma cells have much fewer of these fine sensory hairs than the skin’s benign pigment cells. With the help of human melanoma cells and mouse models, the researchers succeeded in demonstrating that loss of cilia in pigment cells activates carcinogenic signaling pathways, ultimately resulting in the formation of aggressive, metastatic melanoma.

Approach for novel tumor therapies

There are many types of cancers composed of cells that have lost their cilia. “The epigenetic regulation of cilia formation that we’ve now discovered in melanoma is, therefore, likely also relevant for the formation of other types of cancers, such as breast or brain tumors,” remarks Lukas Sommer. Drugs that block EZH2 probably offer a promising strategy when it comes to treating melanoma, possibly in combination with immunotherapies, according to Sommer.

Literature:
Daniel Zingg, Julien Debbache, Rodrigo Peña-Hernández, Ana T. Antunes, Simon M. Schaefer, Phil F. Cheng, Dario Zimmerli, Jessica Haeusel, Raquel R. Calçada, Eylul Tuncer, Yudong Zhang, Raphaël Bossart, Kwok-Kin Wong, Konrad Basler, Reinhard Dummer, Raffaella Santoro, Mitchell P. Levesque, and Lukas Sommer. EZH2-mediated primary cilium deconstruction drives metastatic melanoma formation. Cancer Cell, June 28, 2018. DOI: 10.1016/j.ccell.2018.06.001

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.media.uzh.ch/en/Press-Releases/2018/Melanoma.html

Kurt Bodenmüller | Universität Zürich

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New method for the measurement of nano-structured light fields
23.09.2019 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

nachricht On the trail of self-healing processes: Bayreuth biochemists reveal insights into extraordinary regenerative ability
23.09.2019 | Universität Bayreuth

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: 'Nanochains' could increase battery capacity, cut charging time

How long the battery of your phone or computer lasts depends on how many lithium ions can be stored in the battery's negative electrode material. If the battery runs out of these ions, it can't generate an electrical current to run a device and ultimately fails.

Materials with a higher lithium ion storage capacity are either too heavy or the wrong shape to replace graphite, the electrode material currently used in...

Im Focus: Stevens team closes in on 'holy grail' of room temperature quantum computing chips

Photons interact on chip-based system with unprecedented efficiency

To process information, photons must interact. However, these tiny packets of light want nothing to do with each other, each passing by without altering the...

Im Focus: Happy hour for time-resolved crystallography

Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Hamburg and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) outstation in the city have developed a new method to watch biomolecules at work. This method dramatically simplifies starting enzymatic reactions by mixing a cocktail of small amounts of liquids with protein crystals. Determination of the protein structures at different times after mixing can be assembled into a time-lapse sequence that shows the molecular foundations of biology.

The functions of biomolecules are determined by their motions and structural changes. Yet it is a formidable challenge to understand these dynamic motions.

Im Focus: Modular OLED light strips

At the International Symposium on Automotive Lighting 2019 (ISAL) in Darmstadt from September 23 to 25, 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, will present OLED light strips of any length with additional functionalities for the first time at booth no. 37.

Almost everyone is familiar with light strips for interior design. LED strips are available by the metre in DIY stores around the corner and are just as often...

Im Focus: Tomorrow´s coolants of choice

Scientists assess the potential of magnetic-cooling materials

Later during this century, around 2060, a paradigm shift in global energy consumption is expected: we will spend more energy for cooling than for heating....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Technologies: International Symposium „Future Optics“ in Hannover

19.09.2019 | Event News

Society 5.0: putting humans at the heart of digitalisation

10.09.2019 | Event News

Interspeech 2019 conference: Alexa and Siri in Graz

04.09.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

"Pheno-Inspect" accelerates plant cultivation

23.09.2019 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Quality control in immune communication: Chaperones detect immature signaling molecules in the immune system

20.09.2019 | Life Sciences

Moderately Common Plants Show Highest Relative Losses

20.09.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>