Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research project about the genetic modification of cancer cells

21.03.2014

Better understanding of the generation of leukaemias

Tumour cells shut down certain genes in the course of the progressing degeneration or mutate these, a process that considerably accelerates the growth of the tumour.


Extract from the structure of the Dnmt3a DNA methyl transferase (red, blue and cyan) with DNA (green). The positions of mutations in tumours are represented by red and orange balls.

Illustration: University of Stuttgart

An important role in this process is played by epigenetic factors and thereby in particular DNA methyl transferase (Dnmts), i.e. enzymes that transmit methyl groups on nucleic bases of the DNA. A research group at the Chair for Biochemistry at the University of Stuttgart (Head Prof. Albert Jeltsch) is now investigating in a new project the influence of mutations in the DNA methyl transferase Dnmt3a, that are observed in many leukaemias. The scientists want to elucidate how these modifications contribute towards cancer developing. 

The fact that tumour cells shut down or mutate in the course of progressing degeneration has been known for years. Traditionally so-called tumour suppressor genes are affected by this process, that prevent cells with damages in the genome dividing and ultimately drive these cells to a controlled cell death.

However, genes are also frequently damaged or shut down, whose products are involved in the repair of DNA damages. The loss of these factors leads to an increase in mutations in the affected cells, promoting the further progression of tumours. 

The rapid development of DNA sequencing technologies has, among other things, led to the identification of many additional mutations in tumour cells. A better understanding of these somatic mutations can help to better understand the process of the tumour developing and to develop targeted therapies for defined sub-types of tumours. A new group of somatically mutated genes are so-called “epigenetic“ factors.

These factors control how strongly genes are transcribed and ultimately through this regulate how the information of the genome is implemented. This group also includes DNA methyl transferase that transmits the methyl groups to the DNA and plays a decisive role in the development of human cells.

It was recently shown that the DNA methyl transferase Dnmt3a is a focal point of somatic tumour mutations in many leukaemias. In this way, up to 30 percent of the patients show a certain mutation in the Dnmt3a gene in a sub-group of leukaemias. This mutation brings about the targeted exchange of an amino acid into another in the protein, comprising a total of 912 amino acids. 

Building on its 10 years of experience in investigating Dnmt3a, the workgroup Jeltsch is planning to investigate the effects of these and other tumour mutations in Dnmt3a in the project financed by the German Research Association DFG with the focus on the “Epigenetic Regulation of the normal haematopoiesis and its dysregulation in myeloid neoplasia“.

The results of this project will help to elucidate the tumour-inducing effect of somatic Dnmt3a tumour mutations and to understand how the modifications in the DNA methylation lead to cancer.

Further information:
Prof. Albert Jeltsch, University of Stuttgart, Chair for Biochemistry, 0711/685-64390
Email albert.jeltsch (at) ibc.uni-stuttgart.de
Andrea Mayer-Grenu, University of Stuttgart, Department of University Communication, Tel. 0711/685-82176,
Email: andrea.mayer-grenu (at) hkom.uni-stuttgart.de

Andrea Mayer-Grenu | Universität Stuttgart

Further reports about: Biochemistry DNA amino developing genes methyl modification modifications mutate mutations somatic tumour tumours

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fish recognize their prey by electric colors
13.11.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection
13.11.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

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...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

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...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fish recognize their prey by electric colors

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Ultrasound Connects

13.11.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>