Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bacterial DNA may integrate into human genome more readily in tumor tissue

Date:
June 20, 2013
Source:
University of Maryland Medical Center
Summary:
Bacterial DNA may integrate into the human genome more readily in tumors than in normal human tissue, according to a new study. Researchers analyzed genomic sequencing data available from the Human Genome Project, the 1,000 Genomes Project and The Cancer Genome Atlas. They considered the phenomenon of lateral gene transfer, the transmission of genetic material between organisms in the absence of sex.

A drawing depicting a DNA molecule unwinding from a chromosome inside the nucleus of a cell.
Credit: The Cancer Genome Atlas

Bacterial DNA may integrate into the human genome more readily in tumors than in normal human tissue, according to a new study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Institute for Genome Sciences. Researchers analyzed genomic sequencing data available from the Human Genome Project, the 1,000 Genomes Project and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). They considered the phenomenon of lateral gene transfer (LGT), the transmission of genetic material between organisms in the absence of sex.

Related Articles


Scientists have already shown that bacteria can transfer DNA to the genome of an animal. The researchers at the University of Maryland Institute for Genome Sciences found evidence that lateral gene transfer is possible from bacteria to the cells of the human body, known as human somatic cells. They found the bacterial DNA was more likely to integrate in the genome in tumor samples than in normal, healthy somatic cells. The phenomenon might play a role in cancer and other diseases associated with DNA damage. The paper was published in PLOS Computational Biology on June 20.

"LGT from bacteria to animals was only described recently, and it is exciting to find that such transfers can be found in the genome of human somatic cells and particularly in cancer genomes," says Julie C. Dunning Hotopp, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and lead author on the paper. Dr. Hotopp also is a research scientist with the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center. "Studies applying this approach to additional cancer genome projects could be fruitful, leading us to a better understanding of the mechanisms of cancer."

In the research, a team of interdisciplinary scientists and bioinformatics researchers found that while only 63.5% of TCGA samples analyzed were from tumors, the tumor samples contained 99.9% of reads supporting bacterial integration. The data presented a compelling case that LGT occurs in the human somatic genome and that it could have an important role in cancer and other human diseases associated with mutations. It is possible that LGT mutations play a role in carcinogenesis, yet it is also possible that they could simply be passenger mutations.

The investigators suggest several competing ideas to explain the results, though more research is needed for definitive answers. One possibility is that the mutations are part of carcinogenesis, the process by which normal cells turn into cancer cells. Alternatively, tumor cells are so very rapidly proliferating that they may be more permissive to lateral gene transfer. It is also possible that the bacteria are causing these mutations because they benefit the bacteria.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health's Director's New Innovator Award Program (1-DP2-OD007372) and the NSF Microbial Sequencing Program (EF-0826732).

"This is the type of basic science research, conducted using the analysis of much publicly available genomic data, that makes us leaders in the cutting edge field of genomic science and personalized medicine," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "It is just this type of research that will lead us to a new world of personalized medicine, in which doctors can use each patient's genomic make-up to determine care and preventive measures. We are excited to be a part of this future with the outstanding work of our Institute for Genome Sciences."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. David R. Riley, Karsten B. Sieber, Kelly M. Robinson, James Robert White, Ashwinkumar Ganesan, Syrus Nourbakhsh, Julie C. Dunning Hotopp. Bacteria-Human Somatic Cell Lateral Gene Transfer Is Enriched in Cancer Samples. PLoS Computational Biology, 2013; 9 (6): e1003107 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003107

Cite This Page:

University of Maryland Medical Center. "Bacterial DNA may integrate into human genome more readily in tumor tissue." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130620192043.htm>.
University of Maryland Medical Center. (2013, June 20). Bacterial DNA may integrate into human genome more readily in tumor tissue. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130620192043.htm
University of Maryland Medical Center. "Bacterial DNA may integrate into human genome more readily in tumor tissue." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130620192043.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. 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:

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