Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Find Breast Cancer Gene Required To Correct Certain Genetic Damage

Date:
August 19, 1998
Source:
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
Summary:
A tumor-suppressor gene involved in breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility plays a central role in one of the body's most important mechanisms for repairing DNA when that genetic material becomes damaged, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers have discovered.

CHAPEL HILL - A tumor-suppressor gene involved in breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility plays a central role in one of the body's most important mechanisms for repairing DNA when that genetic material becomes damaged, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers have discovered.

Using specially altered mouse embryo cells deficient in the gene BRCA1, the scientists found the gene directly or indirectly participates in what is called transcription-coupled repair.

"BRCA1's exact role is currently unknown, but it seems to be involved in a variety of cellular functions," said Dr. Steven A. Leadon, professor of radiation oncology at the UNC-CH School of Medicine. "This new work is important for two reasons. First, it provides probably the most direct evidence that BRCA1 is involved in DNA repair. Second, it will give us and others a useful assay, or test, to look at functional changes in the gene."

Such information is critical to knowing how cancer starts and how it might be prevented or treated more effectively, he said. Leadon compared it to understanding what various parts of a car engine do before being able to fix it.

A report on the research appears in the Aug. 14 issue of the journal Science. Besides Leadon, a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, authors are graduate student Lori Gowen, technicians Anna V. Avrutskaya and Anne M. Latour and Dr. Beverly H. Koller, research assistant professor of medicine.

Leadon said his laboratory has studied transcription-coupled repair for more than a decade. In that process, damage to active genes, which continuously produce proteins critical to cell function, are repaired more rapidly than damage in inactive or less active genes.

"So the cell has prioritized which regions of the genome, or total set of genes, it wants to fix first and does it through transcription-coupled repair," he said.

Gowen, Leadon and the others exposed the altered cells to three insults - ionizing radiation, hydrogen peroxide and ultraviolet light -- known to injure DNA in different ways. They then compared how well an active "housekeeping" gene known as DHFR could be repaired in the presence of either functioning BRCA1 or non-functioning BRCA1.

"We found that the normal BRCA1 gene is required for transcription-coupled repair of both ionizing radiation and hydrogen peroxide-induced damage, but not ultraviolet light damage," Gowen said. "That means it is needed to repair oxidative DNA damage when this damage occurs in active genes."

Scientists discovered the BRCA1 gene by studying genetic material from families in which breast cancer was hereditary, Gowen said. Since then, a second breast cancer gene, BRCA2, has been identified, and researchers have begun to suspect several others also promote cancer when not working properly.

How might the new UNC-CH findings affect medical research on humans? "This is the first direct evidence of a function for this tumor-suppressor gene, and it helps to explain how the gene may be involved in cancer," she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Scientists Find Breast Cancer Gene Required To Correct Certain Genetic Damage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 August 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980819081214.htm>.
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. (1998, August 19). Scientists Find Breast Cancer Gene Required To Correct Certain Genetic Damage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980819081214.htm
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Scientists Find Breast Cancer Gene Required To Correct Certain Genetic Damage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980819081214.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) The World Health Organizations says TB numbers rose in 2013, but it's partly due to better detection and more survivors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins