Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fox Chase Cancer Center Scientists Discover Key Proteins Linked To Aging And Cancer

Date:
January 16, 2005
Source:
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Summary:
Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers have made new discoveries that shed new light on the mystery of why human tissues, such as skin, age. The findings focus on the composition and assembly of key chromosomal protein complexes involved in shutting down reproduction of aging cells.

Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers have made new discoveries that shed new light on the mystery of why human tissues, such as skin, age. The findings focus on the composition and assembly of key chromosomal protein complexes involved in shutting down reproduction of aging cells. The report by molecular and cell biologist Peter D. Adams, Ph.D. and his colleagues appears in the January 2005 issue of Developmental Cell.

"In the lab, aging cells are called senescent cells. Senescent cells are no longer able to divide but remain metabolically active," Adams explained. "Accumulation of senescent cells over time appears to contribute to changes in tissue form and function commonly associated with aging, like the skin changes that occur between childhood and old age."

Most normal human cells undergo a limited number of cell divisions but are eventually arrested, either through final differentiation or senescence. Differentiation is the process whereby a proliferating cell stops growing and develops into a cell with a specific function, such as a liver cell or a neuron. Senescence is an irreversible stage in a cell's life cycle and may underlie the human aging process and have an impact on diseases of aging, such as adult cancers.

"Most importantly, the failure of cells to stop growing through differentiation or senescence can lead to the uncontrolled growth of cancer," Adams emphasized. Both senescence and differentiation involve reorganization of chromatin structure --the complex of DNA, RNA and proteins, called histones, in the cell nucleus.

Previous research has shown that as cells reach senescence, a change in chromatin structure, called SAHF (senescence-associated heterochromatin foci), silences the genes that promote the cells' growth. Adams' discovery reveals the mechanism of SAHF formation. SAHF are domains of densely packed chromatin that repress activity of the genes that normally drive cell proliferation. Adams and coworkers have identified at least three proteins in the cell that contribute to formation of SAHF. These are called HIRA, ASF1a and PML. Of particular note, PML is named after acute promyelocytic leukemia, a cancer of white blood cells. Scientists have known for sometime that PML suppresses the formation of this cancer, but no one knew why.

Adams' work suggests the possibility that this cancer arises because PML is unable to do its job in forming SAHF. If so, then extrapolating from recent findings in other cancers, inactivation of PML, HIRA, ASF1a and formation of SAHF may also contribute to other human cancers.

Future work in Adams' lab will define the molecular details by which HIRA, ASF1a and PML make SAHF. Ultimately, this work might allow rationale design of therapeutics to treat cancer patients and even alleviate some aspects of human aging.

Adams' co-authors on the new paper include postdoctoral associates Rugang Zhang, Ph.D., and Xiaofen Ye, Ph.D., graduate student Maxim V. Poustovoitov of Russian State Medical University in Moscow, scientific technicians Hidelita A. Santos and Wei Chen, staff scientist Ilya G. Serebriiskii, Ph.D., structural and computational biologist Roland L. Dunbrack, Ph.D., and staff scientist Adrian A. Canutescu, M.D., all at Fox Chase; Sally M. Daganzo, Ph.D., Jan P. Erzberger, Ph.D., James M. Berger, Ph.D., and Paul D. Kaufman, Ph.D., of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and John R. Pehrson, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Poustovoitov is working in Adams' laboratory as part of a novel partnership with the Russian medical and scientific institutions to provide training at Fox Chase for master's- and doctoral-level students. Begun in 1998 with Russian State Medical University, the partnership has expanded over the years to include more students and more affiliations with premier Russian research institutions. Students typically intern at Fox Chase for about 18 months, although several have chosen to continue their studies and pursue doctoral research in their host laboratory.

Adams is a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar. Grants from the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health and the American Federation for Aging Research also helped support the new work on senescent cells.

###

Fox Chase Cancer Center was founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as the nation's first cancer hospital. In 1974, Fox Chase became one of the first institutions designated as a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center. Fox Chase conducts basic, clinical, population and translational research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at http://www.fccc.edu or call 1-888-FOX CHASE.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fox Chase Cancer Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fox Chase Cancer Center. "Fox Chase Cancer Center Scientists Discover Key Proteins Linked To Aging And Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 January 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050111123932.htm>.
Fox Chase Cancer Center. (2005, January 16). Fox Chase Cancer Center Scientists Discover Key Proteins Linked To Aging And Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050111123932.htm
Fox Chase Cancer Center. "Fox Chase Cancer Center Scientists Discover Key Proteins Linked To Aging And Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050111123932.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. 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:
from the past week

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