Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Enzyme behind breast cancer mutations identified

Date:
February 6, 2013
Source:
University of Minnesota Academic Health Center
Summary:
Researchers have uncovered a human enzyme responsible for causing DNA mutations found in the majority of breast cancers. The discovery of this enzyme -- called APOBEC3B -- may change the way breast cancer is diagnosed and treated.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have uncovered a human enzyme responsible for causing DNA mutations found in the majority of breast cancers. The discovery of this enzyme -- called APOBEC3B -- may change the way breast cancer is diagnosed and treated.
Credit: © Kápl / Fotolia

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have uncovered a human enzyme responsible for causing DNA mutations found in the majority of breast cancers. The discovery of this enzyme -- called APOBEC3B -- may change the way breast cancer is diagnosed and treated.

The findings from a team of researchers led by Reuben Harris, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics and also a researcher at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, are published in the latest edition of Nature.

"We strongly believe this discovery will change the way mutations in cancer are viewed and, hopefully, it will allow cancer researchers to develop new treatments approaches that can prevent these mutations before they become harmful," said Harris.

Harris' quest to learn more about mutations in cancer initially began with HIV research. This previous work by Harris' lab and others indicated that APOBEC3B and related enzymes function normally to protect from infectious viruses like HIV-1.

During these studies, Harris' team developed specific tests to quantify the expression of each of the seven APOBEC3 genes, including APOBEC3B.

Harris and his team were able to apply these tests to the problem of mutation in breast cancer, showing only APOBEC3B is over-expressed in patients' breast cancer cell lines and tumors.

"DNA mutations are absolutely essential for cancer development," said Harris. "Our experiments showed the APOBEC3B enzyme causes mutations in the genome of breast cancer cells. From this, we were able to reasonably conclude that the APOBEC3B is a key influencer in breast cancer."

However, Harris points out that APOBEC3B appears to be a biological "double-edged sword." It protects some cells from viruses such as HIV-1 yet produces mutations giving rise to cancer in others.

Harris stresses the need for additional research. If further studies confirm that high APOBEC3B levels indicate the early presence of breast cancer, a simple blood test could be a strategy for early detection.

Another goal for Harris is finding a way to block APOBEC3B from causing mutation, just as sunscreen prevents sun from causing mutations leading to melanoma. His collaborative HIV studies are already pointing toward such drug possibilities.

"Our next steps will focus on the connections between high levels of APOBEC3B, age and other genetic risk factors that are known breast cancer markers. Ultimately, we hope our discovery leads to better therapeutic outcomes for patients," said Harris.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michael B. Burns, Lela Lackey, Michael A. Carpenter, Anurag Rathore, Allison M. Land, Brandon Leonard, Eric W. Refsland, Delshanee Kotandeniya, Natalia Tretyakova, Jason B. Nikas, Douglas Yee, Nuri A. Temiz, Duncan E. Donohue, Rebecca M. McDougle, William L. Brown, Emily K. Law, Reuben S. Harris. APOBEC3B is an enzymatic source of mutation in breast cancer. Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nature11881

Cite This Page:

University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. "Enzyme behind breast cancer mutations identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130206131122.htm>.
University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. (2013, February 6). Enzyme behind breast cancer mutations identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130206131122.htm
University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. "Enzyme behind breast cancer mutations identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130206131122.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) — Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) — Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he expects revised CDC protocols on Ebola to focus on training, observation and ensuring health care workers are more protected. (Oct. 20) 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