Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Reprogramming cell identity in the pituitary gland: Discovery could lead to new treatments for Cushing's disease

Date:
October 16, 2012
Source:
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal
Summary:
A team of researchers reprogrammed the identity of cells in the pituitary gland and identified critical mechanisms of epigenetic cell programming. The discovery could eventually lead to new pharmacological targets for the treatment of Cushing's disease.

A team of researchers at the IRCM, supervised by Dr. Jacques Drouin, reprogrammed the identity of cells in the pituitary gland and identified critical mechanisms of epigenetic cell programming. This important discovery, published in the scientific journal Genes & Development, could eventually lead to new pharmacological targets for the treatment of Cushing's disease.

Related Articles


Dr. Drouin's team studies the pituitary gland, which is the master gland located at the base of the skull that secretes hormones to control all other glands of the endocrine system. Disruption of pituitary functions has dire consequences on growth, reproduction and metabolism.

Within the pituitary gland, each hormone is produced by cells of a different lineage. Unique cell identities are created by cell-specific genetic programs that are implemented during development. Appropriate cell programming is a critical process that needs to be harnessed in order to exploit the therapeutic benefits of stem cell research.

In their work, the IRCM researchers showed that the transcription factor Pax7 has pioneering abilities, meaning that it is able to open the tightly-packed chromatin structure of specific regions of the genome. This unmasking of a subset of the genome's regulatory sequences changes the genome's response to differentiation signals such that different cell types are generated.

"We reprogrammed the identity of pituitary cells by using the Pax7 gene in order to create two different types of cells," says Lionel Budry, former student in Dr. Drouin's laboratory and first author of the article. "This allowed us to show that the Tpit protein produces different cell lineages according to the presence or absence of Pax7, and its impact on chromatin organisation."

Cushing's disease is caused by small tumours of the pituitary gland that produce excessive amounts of hormones. For patients with this disease, the abnormal hormone production can lead to hypertension, obesity, diabetes and osteoporosis.

"For approximately 10% of patients suffering from Cushing's disease, we found that the disease-causing tumours contain cells that express the Pax7 protein," explains Dr. Drouin, Director of the Molecular Genetics research unit at the IRCM. "No effective pharmacological treatment currently exists for Cushing's disease. This discovery could ultimately lead to the development of such treatment, based on tumour growth inhibition by hormones, similarly to what is already done for other pituitary tumours like lactotrope adenomas."

This research project was funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute. Contributors from Jacques Drouin's laboratory also include Aurélio Balsalobre, Yves Gauthier, Konstantin Khetchoumian, Aurore L'Honoré and Sophie Vallette. In addition, IRCM scientists worked in collaboration with researchers from the Université de la Méditerranée and Hopital La Timone, Marseille in France and Utrecht University in the Netherlands.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. L. Budry, A. Balsalobre, Y. Gauthier, K. Khetchoumian, A. L'Honore, S. Vallette, T. Brue, D. Figarella-Branger, B. Meij, J. Drouin. The selector gene Pax7 dictates alternate pituitary cell fates through its pioneer action on chromatin remodeling. Genes & Development, 2012; 26 (20): 2299 DOI: 10.1101/gad.200436.112

Cite This Page:

Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal. "Reprogramming cell identity in the pituitary gland: Discovery could lead to new treatments for Cushing's disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121016141653.htm>.
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal. (2012, October 16). Reprogramming cell identity in the pituitary gland: Discovery could lead to new treatments for Cushing's disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121016141653.htm
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal. "Reprogramming cell identity in the pituitary gland: Discovery could lead to new treatments for Cushing's disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121016141653.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) 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:

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