Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dysfunctional mitochondria may underlie resistance to radiation therapy

Date:
November 25, 2013
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
The resistance of some cancers to the cell-killing effects of radiation therapy may be due to abnormalities in the mitochondria -- the cellular structures responsible for generating energy, according to an international team of researchers.

The resistance of some cancers to the cell-killing effects of radiation therapy may be due to abnormalities in the mitochondria -- the cellular structures responsible for generating energy, according to an international team of researchers. Their findings are published in the Nov. 25 issue of Developmental Cell.

Maxim Frolov, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues investigated the effects of a mutation in a gene called E2F, which controls other genes responsible for initiating programmed cell death, a normal function in most cells. Cells undergo programmed cell death -- or apoptosis -- when they are no longer needed, as a normal part of aging, or in response to environmental factors like radiation that damage cellular DNA.

When Frolov and colleagues exposed fruit flies carrying a mutant E2F gene to radiation, genes that initiate apoptosis were activated, but the flies did not die.

"Something else was preventing the flies from dying, even though the genes needed to undergo cell death were turned on," Frolov said.

A closer look within the cells of the flies revealed that their mitochondria were misshapen and produced less energy than normal mitochondria. Flies with the most severely deranged mitochondria were the most resistant to radiation-induced cell death.

The observation in fruit flies suggested a previously unknown role for the E2F transcription factor -- the protein encoded by E2F that regulates expression of other genes -- in mitochondrial function.

"It seems their mitochondria were also affected by the E2F mutation and were not functioning at full strength," said Frolov. "You need properly functioning mitochondria to carry out programmed cell death."

Turning to human cells, the researchers found the same effects: those that lacked the E2F gene were resistant to the effects of radiation. Frolov said the similarity in the findings shows that basic cellular functions do not change much across the vast evolutionary distance between fruit flies and humans.

"This result highlights a remarkable degree of conservation between fruit flies and humans and illustrates the advantages of using model organisms in cancer research," said Frolov, whose laboratory is part of the UIC Cancer Center.

Frolov and his colleagues think that dysfunctional mitochondria might underlie the differences in how patients respond to radiation therapy. Previous studies have suggested that the inability of some patients' mitochondria to support apoptosis might account for differences in their response to chemotherapy for acute myelogenous leukemia.

"If we could develop a small-molecule drug that could enhance mitochondrial function in these patients, we may be able to improve the effectiveness of radiation therapy," Frolov said.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. AaronM. Ambrus, AbulB.M.M.K. Islam, KatherineB. Holmes, NamSung Moon, Nuria Lopez-Bigas, ElizavetaV. Benevolenskaya, MaximV. Frolov. Loss of dE2F Compromises Mitochondrial Function. Developmental Cell, 2013; 27 (4): 438 DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2013.10.002

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "Dysfunctional mitochondria may underlie resistance to radiation therapy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125121708.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2013, November 25). Dysfunctional mitochondria may underlie resistance to radiation therapy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125121708.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "Dysfunctional mitochondria may underlie resistance to radiation therapy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125121708.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hundreds in Virginia Turn out for a Free Clinic to Manage Health

Hundreds in Virginia Turn out for a Free Clinic to Manage Health

AFP (July 24, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th - prompting hundreds in Virginia to turn out for a free clinic run by “Remote Area Medical”. Duration 02:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. 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