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 September 18, 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 September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Doctors once thought artificial sweeteners lacked the health risks of sugar, but a new study says they can impact blood sugar levels the same way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) A healthy British volunteer is to become the first person to receive a new vaccine for the Ebola virus after US President Barack Obama called for action against the epidemic and warned it was "spiralling out of control." Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
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