Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecular aberration signals cancer: Role of small non-coding RNAs in protein production, cancer cells

Date:
February 19, 2014
Source:
Simon Fraser University
Summary:
Scientists have made a discovery that strongly links a little understood molecule, which is similar to DNA, to cancer and cancer survival. While RNA is known to be key to our cells' successful creation of proteins, the role of small non-coding RNAs, a newly discovered cousin of the former, has eluded scientific understanding for the most part. Until now, it was only surmised that most of these molecules had nothing to do with protein production. However, scientists have discovered that many non-coding RNAs are perturbed in cancerous human cells, including breast and lung, in a specific way.

Several scientists, including one at Simon Fraser University, have made a discovery that strongly links a little understood molecule, which is similar to DNA, to cancer and cancer survival.

EMBO reports, a life sciences journal published by the European Molecular Biology Organization, has just published online the scientists' findings about small non-coding RNAs.

While RNA is known to be key to our cells' successful creation of proteins, the role of small non-coding RNAs, a newly discovered cousin of the former, has eluded scientific understanding for the most part. Until now, it was only surmised that most of these molecules had nothing to do with protein production.

However, scientists at SFU, the University of British Columbia and the B.C. Cancer Agency have discovered that many non-coding RNAs are perturbed in cancerous human cells, including breast and lung, in a specific way. The disturbance, which manifests itself as shorter than normal molecular messaging, also occurs at a specific spot on genes.

"These two identifiable characteristics give cancer-causing non-coding RNAs a chemical signature that makes it easy for scientists to identify them in the early stages of many different types of cancer," says Steven Jones.

The SFU molecular biology and biochemistry professor is this study's senior author, and the associate director and head of bioinformatics at the B.C. Cancer Agency's Genome Sciences Centre.

"These molecules' existence can also be used to classify cancer patients into subgroups of individuals with different survival outcomes," adds Jones. "While the precise reason why a tumor would change the behaviour of genes in this way is not known, it is likely that it represents a mechanism by which the cancer can subvert and takeover the normally well controlled activity of our genes."

This study uncovered non-coding RNAs' cancerous role by using high-throughput sequencing techniques to analyse reams of genetic information on normal and diseased tissue as part of the Cancer Genome Atlas project.

The Cancer Genome Atlas is an ambitious project to characterize the genetic material of more than 500 tumors from more than 20 different cancers. The project provides a goldmine of data for bioinformaticians such as Jones.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Simon Fraser University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Zovoilis, A. J. Mungall, R. Moore, R. Varhol, A. Chu, T. Wong, M. Marra, S. J. Jones. The expression level of small non-coding RNAs derived from the first exon of protein-coding genes is predictive of cancer status. EMBO reports, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/embr.201337950

Cite This Page:

Simon Fraser University. "Molecular aberration signals cancer: Role of small non-coding RNAs in protein production, cancer cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219160416.htm>.
Simon Fraser University. (2014, February 19). Molecular aberration signals cancer: Role of small non-coding RNAs in protein production, cancer cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219160416.htm
Simon Fraser University. "Molecular aberration signals cancer: Role of small non-coding RNAs in protein production, cancer cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140219160416.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
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