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 September 22, 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 September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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