home   genetic news   bioinformatics   biotechnology   literature   journals   ethics   positions   events   sitemap
 
  HUM-MOLGEN -> Genetic News | search  
 

Scientists identify a gene that may suppress colorectal cancer

 
  March, 26 2007 16:39
your information resource in human molecular genetics
 
     
In the most recent online edition of Genome Research, a husband-and-wife research team from Thomas Jefferson University report the discovery of a gene that, when mutated, may suppress colorectal cancer. To conduct the study, the researchers used a strain of mice that develop polyps, or small growths of tissue, in the digestive tract—the harbingers of cancer. When these mice possessed one copy of the mutated gene, the incidence of small intestinal and colon polyps were reduced by about 90%.

“This gene may give us a novel target to aid in the diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of cancer,” says Dr. Arthur Buchberg, one of the co-senior authors on the report.

The gene is called Atp5a1, and encodes an essential component of the cell’s energy-production machinery. Mice with two copies of mutated Atp5a1 die early in embryonic development—probably due to insufficient energy. The identification of a gene critical for energy production in the cell opens up an array of potential new targets for therapy.

The research team identified a duplication of DNA—only four bases in length—in a critical part of the Atp5a1 gene. This mutation, which results in decreased levels of Atp5a1 gene expression, is the first mutation identified in the mouse Atp5a1 gene. In trypanosomes (tiny parasitic protozoa that cause African sleeping sickness), the loss of Atp5a1 gene function leads to death. To date, no mutations in the human ATP5A1 gene have been identified—further supporting its essential role in the cell.

“In humans, ATP5A1 is located on chromosome 18, in a region that often exhibits genetic alterations in colon tumors,” says Dr. Linda Siracusa, the other co-senior investigator on the project. “A better understanding of the biological function of ATP5A1 will provide insights concerning its potential role in human cancer.”

Colorectal cancer is currently ranked as the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. But scientific progress in cancer research is challenged by the array of environmental and genetic influences on tumor initiation, development, and progression in the human population. Therefore, scientists have turned to mouse models, which have nearly identical genetic backgrounds and are housed in controlled conditions.

The scientists used a strain of mice called Min (multiple intestinal neoplasia). Min mice carry mutations in the Apc gene, which causes the development of intestinal tumors. Inactivation of the corresponding gene (APC) in humans is considered a key event in the development of colorectal cancer.

Tumor development is regulated by modifier genes, which may function to enhance or suppress tumor initiation, growth and/or progression. Atp5a1 is a modifier gene, and it is located on the same chromosome as Apc in mice. Interestingly, the results suggest that the mutant Atp5a1 gene caused the death of tumor cells, primarily when it was present on the same chromosome as the mutant Apc gene.

Amy Baran, a doctoral student in Dr. Siracusa’s laboratory, and Karen Silverman, a former doctoral student and postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Buchberg’s laboratory, are co-first authors on the paper. The work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Author Contact:
Arthur M. Buchberg, Ph.D. (Thomas Jefferson University)
buchberg@mail.jci.tju.edu

Linda D. Siracusa, Ph.D. (Thomas Jefferson University)
siracusa@mail.jci.tju.ed

Source: Genome Research Press Release


Message posted by: Robin Kimmel

print this article mail this article
Bookmark and Share this page (what is this?)

Social bookmarking allows users to save and categorise a personal collection of bookmarks and share them with others. This is different to using your own browser bookmarks which are available using the menus within your web browser.

Use the links below to share this article on the social bookmarking site of your choice.

Read more about social bookmarking at Wikipedia - Social Bookmarking

Latest News
Variants Associated with Pediatric Allergic Disorder

Mutations in PHF6 Found in T-Cell Leukemia

Genetic Risk Variant for Urinary Bladder Cancer

Antibody Has Therapeutic Effect on Mice with ALS

Regulating P53 Activity in Cancer Cells

Anti-RNA Therapy Counters Breast Cancer Spread

Mitochondrial DNA Diversity

The Power of RNA Sequencing

‘Pro-Ageing' Therapy for Cancer?

Niche Genetics Influence Leukaemia

Molecular Biology: Clinical Promise for RNA Interference

Chemoprevention Cocktail for Colon Cancer

more news ...

Generated by News Editor 2.0 by Kai Garlipp
WWW: Kai Garlipp, Frank S. Zollmann.
7.0 © 1995-2017 HUM-MOLGEN. All rights reserved. Liability, Copyright and Imprint.