Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New data on the regulation of a protein that is altered in all cancers

Date:
April 20, 2010
Source:
Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Summary:
In a study of fruit flies, researchers have discovered that the microRNA machinery controls the levels of Myc through the molecule Mei-P26, thereby conferring microRNAs unexpected importance.

This graphic compares a normal wing (left) and a wing without miRNA in the zone marked in blue/
Credit: Copyright Lab M. Milán

In all cancers, whether in kidney, breast, lung, colon, skin or any other tissue, cells show high Myc protein levels. Excess Myc causes cells to multiply in an exaggerated manner, giving rise to the development of tumours. One of the most pressing questions about Myc is how healthy cells keep the expression of this protein in check. In a study using fruit flies (Drosophila), researchers at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) headed by ICREA scientist Marco Milán have discovered that the microRNA machinery controls the levels of Myc through the molecule Mei-P26, thereby conferring microRNAs unexpected importance.

The study is published this week in EMBO Journal.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small molecules that account for less than 1% of the human genome; however, they play a key role in cell function because they have the capacity to disable or modify a great number of genes. High levels of certain miRNAs cause cancer. In previous studies conducted in mice, it was demonstrated that the Myc protein controls the expression levels of miRNAs. Now scientists have discovered in Drosophila that miRNAs affect the levels of Myc. "We propose that there is a finely tuned mechanism by which miRNAs and Myc are mutually controlled," explains Milán. The researchers suggest that the cell uses this mechanism to maintain optimal levels of miRNA and Myc, indispensable for the proper functioning of the organism, while preventing their becoming dangerous.

Mei-P26, the key component

The researchers discovered this new regulatory mechanism by removing Drosophila's 150 miRNAs from a developing wing. Without miRNAs, they obtained a tissue with similar characteristics to that attained when Myc is removed: the wing is smaller and the cells are also smaller and do not divide well. "Myc is like an orchestra conductor that guides the growth of tissue, including healthy tissue, and since the wing characteristics in both cases were similar, we thought that the miRNAs and Myc were related; and we were right," explains Héctor Herranz, post-doc researcher fellow in Milan's lab and first author of the article.

The dissection of the molecular mechanism revealed that the key piece in the regulation of Myc by miRNAs is Mei-P26, a molecule known to target Myc in mice. Cells lacking miRNAs show increased Mei-P26 levels and decreased Myc expression. "We have closed the circle of this regulatory mechanism, positioning the miRNAs in the diagram."

Given that miRNAs, Mei-p26 and Myc have homologues in mice and humans, and alterations in the expression of these homologues cause tumours, the researchers propose that this same regulatory mechanism of Myc could be present in higher organisms. Confirmation of this notion would open up new avenues in the study of cancer.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Héctor Herranz, Xin Hong, Lidia Pérez, Ana Ferreira, Daniel Olivieri, Stephen M Cohen, Marco Milán. The miRNA machinery targets Mei-P26 and regulates Myc protein levels in the Drosophila wing. The EMBO Journal, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/emboj.2010.69

Cite This Page:

Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona). "New data on the regulation of a protein that is altered in all cancers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100420101231.htm>.
Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona). (2010, April 20). New data on the regulation of a protein that is altered in all cancers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100420101231.htm
Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona). "New data on the regulation of a protein that is altered in all cancers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100420101231.htm (accessed August 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) — In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) 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