A paper in Nature indicates that certain forms of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) can result from misinterpretation of chromatin modifications - the chemical 'marks' that modify histone proteins and influence gene expression. These histone modifications are recognised and interpreted by proteins that specifically bind them and 'read' the mark.
David Allis and colleagues show that a chromosomal translocation found in certain AML patients results in the aberrant activity of a protein that recognises histone modifications. This leads to inappropriate expression of developmentally important genes, and the induction of leukaemia.
Therefore, inappropriate interpretation of histone modifications can induce oncogenesis, and the authors propose a new category of diseases arising from misinterpreting the histone code.
David Allis (Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza