Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered a possible new mechanism for regulating large groups of genes. While conducting yeast research on a potential new anticancer drug, the team identified a mechanism that enables the genome to silence large numbers of genes simultaneously, rather than each gene individually.
The finding emerged during research studying the molecular action of the drug rapamycin. Rapamycin currently is used to suppress the immune system following kidney transplantation, but it also is being investigated as a promising anticancer drug. Rapamycin stops tumor-cell growth through a mechanism unlike those used by other anticancer drugs. The findings are published in the December issue of Molecular Cell.
"This study shows how basic research can have a clinical impact," says study leader X. F. Steven Zheng, Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology and immunology. "It gives us insights into the molecular mechanism of rapamycins antitumor activity and may provide new targets for drug development."
Darrell E. Ward | EurekAlert!
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