Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Link between tumor suppressors and starvation survival suggested

Date:
May 10, 2013
Source:
University of Colorado at Boulder
Summary:
A particular tumor suppressor gene that fights cancer cells does more than clamp down on unabated cell division -- the hallmark of the disease -- it also can help make cells more fit by allowing them to fend off stress, says a new study.

A tumor supressor gene found in the common laboratory nematode, C. elegans, has been shown to not only shut down cancerous cell division but also to fend off stress, according to a new University of Colorado Boulder study.
Credit: Image courtesy NIH

A particular tumor suppressor gene that fights cancer cells does more than clamp down on unabated cell division -- the hallmark of the disease -- it also can help make cells more fit by allowing them to fend off stress, says a University of Colorado Boulder study.

CU-Boulder Professor Min Han said the research team was interested in how a common tumor suppressor gene known as Retinoblastoma 1, or Rb, behaved under conditions of starvation. The question is important, said Han, because it may help researchers understand why many cancer cells are more susceptible to starvation or fasting than ordinary cells.

Han and his team studied a popular lab organism called C. elegans, a translucent nematode smaller than an eyelash. Many of the C. elegans genes have similar, corresponding human genes called homologs, and almost all cellular mechanisms found in the nematodes also are found in mammals, including humans, he said. The team charted changes in the physiology of newly hatched C. elegans in the absence of food to look at the corresponding stress response.

"We found the tumor suppressor Rb is a critical regulator of the starvation response," said Han, who also is a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator. "Rb is known for doing more than just suppressing cell division associated with cancer -- it carries out a host of other cellular tasks including regulating development. The new findings by our group and research by other groups suggest organisms survive longer when they encounter starvation by regulating the expression of a large number of genes."

A paper on the subject was published online May 9 in Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press. The co-authors on the study, Mingxue Cui, Max Cohen and Cindy Teng, are all researchers associated with both CU-Boulder and HHMI. The study was funded by HHMI and the National Institutes of Health.

As part of the study, the researchers monitored the two- to three-week survival time of hundreds of C. elegans hatchlings in an environment with no food, which caused immediate "developmental arrest," said Han, a professor in CU-Boulder's molecular, cellular and developmental biology department. "The survival time of the young nematodes is dramatically shorter when the Rb gene is mutated, which causes changes in the activities of multiple cell signaling pathways."

The study suggests that Rb plays a critical role in maintaining a starvation-induced "transcriptome," which is the transcription of DNA to corresponding bits of RNA that allow researchers to pinpoint when and where each gene is turned on or off in the cells, he said. Under starved conditions, for example, Rb represses some responses induced by other physical stressors like pathogens and toxins.

Han said the Rb gene is mutated in a large percentage of human cancers. Hundreds of mutations in the RB gene have been identified in people with retinoblastoma, a rare type of eye cancer that usually strikes young children.

"Altogether, these findings identify Rb as a critical regulator of the starvation response and suggest a link between functions of tumor suppressors and starvation survival," the team wrote in Current Biology. "These results may provide mechanistic insights into why cancer cells are often hypersensitive to starvation treatment."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado at Boulder. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Colorado at Boulder. "Link between tumor suppressors and starvation survival suggested." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130510102107.htm>.
University of Colorado at Boulder. (2013, May 10). Link between tumor suppressors and starvation survival suggested. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130510102107.htm
University of Colorado at Boulder. "Link between tumor suppressors and starvation survival suggested." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130510102107.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) 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