Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene important to breast development, breast cancer identified

Date:
March 6, 2014
Source:
Tufts University
Summary:
A gene important to breast development and breast cancer, has been identified, providing a potential new target for drug therapies to treat aggressive types of breast cancer. The research team identified a gene, TAZ, which controls whether breast cells behave more like basal cells or more like luminal cells, information that might be important in understanding and potentially treating certain difficult-to-treat forms of breast cancer. TAZ helps to regulate how different genes operate in different cell types.

In cancer, normal cells can become unpredictable or aggressive and thus difficult to treat with anti-cancer drugs. This is especially true in breast cancer. By identifying the genes responsible for this change in cells from breast tissue, researchers hope to identify a way to stop or reverse it.

In breast tissue, there are two main types of cells: luminal cells and basal cells. Normally luminal cells are “programmed” by a particular class of proteins (transcription factors), which prevent them from becoming basal cells, and vice-versa.

Previous work led by Charlotte Kuperwasser, principal investigator, determined that some common forms of breast cancer originate from luminal cells while some rarer forms of breast cancer originate from basal cells.

The research team identified a gene, TAZ, which controls whether breast cells behave more like basal cells or more like luminal cells, information that might be important in understanding and potentially treating certain difficult-to-treat forms of breast cancer. TAZ helps to regulate how different genes operate in different cell types.

The research team identified TAZ by testing the function of more than 1,000 genes to determine which were involved in “reprogramming” luminal and basal cells, therefore reversing lineage commitment.

To further identify the role of TAZ, the research team studied breast tissue at different stages of development using two groups of mice: a control group with the TAZ gene and an experimental group of knock-out mice with the TAZ gene deleted. (Cells in breast tissue are renewed/developed during puberty, pregnancy, and nursing.)

The team also looked at the levels of the TAZ gene in tumors from women with either luminal or basal tumors.

The research team found that the experimental group had an imbalance of cell populations in breast tissue: too many luminal and too few basal. The control group had a normal ratio of luminal to basal cells. In breast tissue from women with cancer, they found high levels of TAZ in basal but not luminal tumors.

First author Adam Skibinski, M.D./Ph.D., student at Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University, said “We’ve known for a long time that breast cells can lose their normal identity when they become cancerous, but we are now realizing that normal cells can change their characteristics as well in response to transcription factors like TAZ. This might be a factor in the development of breast cancer.”


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Skibinski et al. The Hippo Transducer TAZ Interacts with the SWI/SNF Complex to Regulate Breast Epithelial Lineage Commitment. Cell Reports, March 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.02.038

Cite This Page:

Tufts University. "Gene important to breast development, breast cancer identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306130046.htm>.
Tufts University. (2014, March 6). Gene important to breast development, breast cancer identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306130046.htm
Tufts University. "Gene important to breast development, breast cancer identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306130046.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. 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