Scientists have discovered how a particular cluster of short strings of genetic material called microRNAs promotes lymphoma development, according to a paper published online in Nature Immunology. These findings will aid our understanding of the biological processes at work during the early stages of this cancer.
Klaus Rajewsky and colleagues set out to determine how the miR-17-92 microRNA cluster -- frequently amplified in lymphoma cells -- accelerates lymphoma development. The team studied mice with elevated amounts of miR-17-92 matching those seen in lymphoma cells. These mice displayed hyperproliferation of lymphocytes, suffered from autoimmune disease and then died prematurely.
The researchers identified miR-17-92-binding sites in RNA molecules encoding Bim and PTEN, proteins known to protect cells from cancer development. Supporting the notion that miR-17-92 promotes lymphoma development by diminishing expression of tumour suppressor proteins, mice expressing reduced Bim and PTEN displayed some features of mice overexpressing miR-17-92. These findings will direct future efforts to identify additional factors contributing to early lymphomagenesis.
Klaus Rajewsky (Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Immunology press release.
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