Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers identify 'carbohydrates in a coal mine' for cancer detection

Date:
March 3, 2014
Source:
New York University
Summary:
Carbohydrates serve as identifiers for cancer cells, researchers have discovered. Their findings show how these molecules may serve as signals for cancer and explain what’s going on inside these cells, pointing to new ways in which sugars function as a looking glass into the workings of their underlying structures. "Carbohydrates can tell us a lot about what's going on inside of a cell, so they are potentially good markers for disease," the lead author notes.

Researchers at New York University and the University of Texas at Austin have discovered that carbohydrates serve as identifiers for cancer cells. Their findings, which appear in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show how these molecules may serve as signals for cancer and explain what's going on inside these cells, pointing to new ways in which sugars function as a looking glass into the workings of their underlying structures.

"Carbohydrates can tell us a lot about what's going on inside of a cell, so they are potentially good markers for disease," said Lara Mahal, an associate professor in NYU's Department of Chemistry and the study's corresponding author. "Our study reveals how cancer cells produce certain 'carbohydrate signatures' that we can now identify."

Carbohydrates, or glycans, are complex cell-surface molecules that control multiple aspects of cell biology, including cancer metastasis. But less understood is the link between categories of cells and corresponding carbohydrate structures. That is, what do certain carbohydrates on a cell's surfaces tell us about its characteristics and inner workings or, more succinctly, how do you read a code backwards?

In the PNAS study, the researchers examined the role of microRNA, non-coding RNA that are regulators of the genome. Specific miRNAs -- such as miR-200 -- play a role in controlling tumor growth. Using microarray technology developed by NYU's Mahal, the team examined cancer cells in an effort to see how they generated a carbohydrate signature. Specifically, they mapped how miRNA controls carbohydrate signatures.

In their analysis, the researchers could see that miRNA molecules serve as major regulators of the cell's surface-level carbohydrates -- a discovery that showed, for the first time, that miRNA play a significant regulatory role in this part of the cell, also known as the glycome. Moreover, they could see which regulatory process was linked to specific carbohydrates.

"Carbohydrates aren't just telling you the type of cell they came from, but also by which process they were created," explains Mahal. "Our results showed that there are regulatory networks of miRNAs and that they are associated with specific carbohydrate codes."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. P. Agrawal, T. Kurcon, K. T. Pilobello, J. F. Rakus, S. Koppolu, Z. Liu, B. S. Batista, W. S. Eng, K.-L. Hsu, Y. Liang, L. K. Mahal. Mapping posttranscriptional regulation of the human glycome uncovers microRNA defining the glycocode. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1321524111

Cite This Page:

New York University. "Researchers identify 'carbohydrates in a coal mine' for cancer detection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140303153930.htm>.
New York University. (2014, March 3). Researchers identify 'carbohydrates in a coal mine' for cancer detection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140303153930.htm
New York University. "Researchers identify 'carbohydrates in a coal mine' for cancer detection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140303153930.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Texas Quintuplets Head Home

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) After four months in the hospital, the first quintuplets to be born at Baylor University Medical Center head home. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. for Treatment

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 1, 2014) A U.S. aid worker infected with Ebola while working in West Africa will be treated in a high security ward at Emory University in Atlanta. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. 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