Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cancer Biologists Identify Major Player In Cell Growth

Date:
February 7, 2007
Source:
Brown University
Summary:
The transcription factor GABP -- a member of a family of crucial gene-regulating proteins -- is required to jump-start the process of cell division, according to research from The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital. The work, published in Nature Cell Biology, uncovers a new way to control cell growth and points up potential targets for cancer treatments.

When cells go about the business of dividing, they can get sidelined. Maybe there aren’t enough nutrients. Maybe there aren’t the right signals to resume multiplying. Either way, cells go quiet.

What can restart cell division – the process that drives the development of embryos, the renewal of hair, skin and blood, and the creation of cancer – is a single transcription factor called GABP, according to new research from The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital.

The work, published online in Nature Cell Biology, introduces a new pathway that can be manipulated to control cell growth. Since cell growth is a fundamental biological process, the research may shed light on everything from miscarriages to muscular dystrophy. The main application, however, is cancer. Since a key characteristic of cancer cells is unchecked growth, the research identifies potential targets for new treatments.

“As a scientist and a physician, I am tremendously excited,” said Alan Rosmarin, M.D., an associate professor in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry at Brown and director of clinical oncology research for Lifespan, Rhode Island’s largest health care system. “This discovery not only adds to our basic understanding of cell division, it could lead to better cancer drugs. And they’re needed. Cancer touches everyone.”

During the cell cycle, the four-phase process of cell division, there is a period when the biochemical brakes are put on and cells become inactive. Then the process is kick-started and cells move into the so-called S phase, when DNA is duplicated. This is a critical juncture. If genes are missing or broken, these alterations are passed on to the new cell – and could result in disability or in diseases such as cancer.

So biologists are keenly interested in identifying the accelerators that rev-up cell division. Ets transcription factors, a family of gene-regulating proteins that are major players in embryonic and cancer development, seemed obvious culprits. Rosmarin, a hematologist-oncologist, studies one member of the Ets family called GABP. This transcription factor helps make a variety of cells, including white blood cells. If those cells develop abnormally, leukemia results.

But the exact function of GABP in the cell cycle wasn’t known. Rosmarin wanted to find out. So he and members of his laboratory created mice that carried a mutation – tiny DNA sequences were inserted into their GABP-making gene. These DNA bits would serve as a time bomb of sorts, deleting a critical piece of the gene when given a chemical signal.

From these mice, Rosmarin and his team grew fibroblasts – common connective tissue cells – in a Petri dish with nutrient-rich serum and watched them grow. When they detonated their time bomb, GABP was disrupted, and the fibroblasts’ ability to divide was dramatically reduced. At the same time, other genes known to restart cell division were unchanged.

The team confirmed GABP’s critical role in cell growth another way. Simply forcing dormant cells to make GABP, they found, was enough to rouse cells from their slumber and get them to grow again.

“So we’ve found a new pathway to control cell growth,” Rosmarin said. “Now that we know a way to disrupt GABP and stop division, there is the possibility that a drug can be made to do the same thing in cancer cells.”

Zhong-Fa Yang, an instructor in medicine at Brown and a postdoctoral research fellow at Rhode Island Hospital, was the lead author of the journal article. Stephanie Mott, a Rhode Island Hospital research associate, assisted with the experiments.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Center for Research Resources and the Herbert W. Saint ’49 Fund at Brown University funded the work.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brown University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Brown University. "Cancer Biologists Identify Major Player In Cell Growth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070207091018.htm>.
Brown University. (2007, February 7). Cancer Biologists Identify Major Player In Cell Growth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070207091018.htm
Brown University. "Cancer Biologists Identify Major Player In Cell Growth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070207091018.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. 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