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Cancer Medication? Potential Tumor Suppressor Identified

March 25, 2009
University of Innsbruck
The Myc-gene plays an important role in cell regulation; in about 50% of all tumors this gene is mutated. Scientists have shown that the gene BASP1 specifically inhibits the effect of this oncogene, thereby preventing uncontrolled cell growth which is typical for tumors.

Onkogen Myc induces cell transformation (left), tumor suppressor BASP1 inhibits the Myc induced cell transformation (right).
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Innsbruck

The gene Myc is an important factor for the growth of organisms by cell division. It causes the production of a protein which, as a transcription factor, controls the expression of up to 15 % of all human genes. When this gene mutates to an oncogene, the cell proliferates excessively and apoptosis is inhibited. Thereby the gene plays a decisive role in the development of many tumors.

he problem is that pharmacological substances do not target Myc as it does not have enzymatic activity of its own. Thus, scientists worldwide are trying to find alternative ways to inhibit this oncogene. A team of scientists led by Klaus Bister and Markus Hartl of the Institute of Biochemistry and the Centre for Molecular Biosciences of the University of Innsbruck may have made an important step towards achieving this goal.

Suppressing pathological cell growth

For the first time, the scientists have shown that Myc suppresses the expression of the gene BASP1. This evidence prompted them to test the effect of BASP1 on the oncogene. In cell experiments they proved that BASP1 specifically inhibits the uncontrolled proliferation of Myc. „Until now the precise biochemical function of BASP1 is unknown“, Prof. Bister explains. „However, in our experiments we have found clear evidence that Myc-induced cell transformation can be specifically inhibited by BASP1, and consequently, the gene functions as a tumor suppressor.“ This finding may facilitate the development of new drugs which keep the development of tumors under control.

The scientists are supported by the Austrian Science Fund.

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Materials provided by University of Innsbruck. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Hartl M, Nist A, Khan MI, Valovka T, Bister K. Inhibition of Myc-induced cell transformation by brain acid-soluble protein 1 (BASP1). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0812101106

Cite This Page:

University of Innsbruck. "Cancer Medication? Potential Tumor Suppressor Identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2009. <>.
University of Innsbruck. (2009, March 25). Cancer Medication? Potential Tumor Suppressor Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 24, 2017 from
University of Innsbruck. "Cancer Medication? Potential Tumor Suppressor Identified." ScienceDaily. (accessed March 24, 2017).