Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Yale scientists find microRNA regulates Ras cancer gene

21.03.2005


Research in the laboratory of Assistant Professor Frank J. Slack at Yale University has identified a new way that a familiar gene is regulated in lung cancer, presenting new possibilities for diagnosis and treatment. The work is reported in March issues of the journals Cell and Developmental Cell.



The oncogene Ras is out of control in about 20 percent of cancers where it is over-expressed or activated by mutation. According to Slack, a member of the Yale Cancer Center, it is one of the most identifiable causes in some forms of lung cancer. His team has identified let-7, a natural and separately transcribed RNA that maps to a chromosomal region associated with lung cancer as a regulator of Ras expression.

DNA of plants and animals contains sequences encoding microRNAs, important regulators of development, that control processes determining cell type and cell death. "The let-7 microRNA regulates Ras by binding to the message for Ras and likely inhibits translation of the Ras protein," said Slack. "The microRNA does not revert a mutated Ras to normal; instead it acts like a brake on an accelerated Ras."


Lung cancer currently has a poor prognosis with less than 15 percent of patients surviving five years. The lungs, however, are relatively accessible for inhalation of potential gene therapy agents. "While this is not likely to cure the cancer," said Slack, "after diagnosis, gene therapy with let-7 may be a way to alleviate or slow it down."

This work arose from Slack’s basic research in the department of molecular, cellular and developmental biology on the nematode round worms, C. elegans. He found that these worms require let-7 RNA for normal development to occur. Without it, cells do not stop dividing and fail to differentiate into the normal structures of the worm – instead they make an excess of their cells.

After identifying let-7 as a cell division regulator, Slack’s team used bioinformatics and found the relationship to Ras. Let-7 in humans is identical to the sequence in the worm, and both binding site and pathway for Ras are highly conserved.

Tissue from lung cancer tumors, compared with their normal adjacent tissue, had reduced let-7 and increased Ras -- the brakes on Ras were removed in lung tumors.

"The discovery of a new aspect of the regulation and targeting of a well-known gene involved with cancer progression will have profound implications as we continue to focus on the causes of tumor development," said Richard L. Edelson, M.D., director of Yale Cancer Center.

Other Yale researchers were Steven M. Johnson, Helge Grosshans and Kristy L. Reinert; collaborators at Ambion, Inc. included Jaclyn Shingara, Mike Byrom, Rich Jarvis, Angie Cheng, Emmanuel Labourier and David Brown. Support for the research came from the Human Frontiers Science Program, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Janet Rettig Emanuel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.yale.edu

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

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump

14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal

14.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

How algae and carbon fibers could sustainably reduce the athmospheric carbon dioxide concentration

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>