Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How A 'Stuck Accelerator' Causes Cancer Cell Expansion

Date:
September 30, 2008
Source:
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum
Summary:
What allows cancer cells to divide uncontrolled? The cellular oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes are analogous to the accelerator and brake pedals in a car. If an oncogene is permanently active, similar to a stuck accelerator in a car, cells divide without restraints and a tumor develops.

The cellular oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes are analogous to the accelerator and brake pedals in a car. If an oncogene is permanently active, similar to a stuck accelerator in a car, cells divide without restraints and a tumor develops.

The c-MYC proto-oncogene is activated aberrantly in about 50% of all tumors. As a result the c-MYC protein is produced in excessive amounts, which in turn activates processes associated with cell proliferation.

A group of research scientists led by Prof. Heiko Hermeking (Institute of Pathology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany) has now identified a mechanism that allows c-MYC to drive cellular proliferation in the presence of substances that would lead to a block in cell division in normal cells, as for example chemotherapeutic agents. “In future this knowledge may allow a more specific inhibition of tumor growth” Hermeking hopes.

Attractive target structure for cancer drugs

The c-MYC gene is a nodal point in the regulation of cellular division and is highly expressed in colorectal cancer and many other tumor types. The c-MYC protein is a transcription factor which regulates other genes, which in turn mediate the effects of c-MYC on cell proliferation. “In order to understand the origin of cancer it is therefore important to identify genes and mechanisms that mediate the effects of c-MYC on cells” Prof. Hermeking explained. Because of its central position in the regulation of cell proliferation c-MYC is an attractive target structure for cancer therapeutic agents.

Signaling chain unraveled in detail

Prof. Hermeking’s research team determined how c-MYC promotes proliferation. They were able to demonstrate that c-MYC activates the AP4 gene, which results in the synthesis of AP4 protein. AP4 protein in turn suppresses the formation of a central inhibitor of cellular division (p21) by occupying its regulatory region within the genome. Thereby tumor cells become refractory to substances, e.g. chemotherapeutic agents, which block cell division in normal cells.

Instead of terminating proliferation the tumor cells undergo cell death. Moreover, the scientists discovered that colorectal carcinomas, in contrast to normal colon tissue, generally produce large amounts of the AP4 protein. In the future, the knowledge about this signaling cascade could enable a more targeted prevention of cancer cell proliferation. The project is supported by the German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe e.V.).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jung et al. AP4 encodes a c-MYC-inducible repressor of p21. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2008; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0801773105

Cite This Page:

Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. "How A 'Stuck Accelerator' Causes Cancer Cell Expansion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080926100930.htm>.
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. (2008, September 30). How A 'Stuck Accelerator' Causes Cancer Cell Expansion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080926100930.htm
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. "How A 'Stuck Accelerator' Causes Cancer Cell Expansion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080926100930.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
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