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Scientists identify gene that regulates growth of melanoma

Date:
February 29, 2016
Source:
Yale Cancer Center
Summary:
A gene in melanoma that can dramatically affect the growth of the disease has been identified by a team of researchers. The findings provide new insight into how melanoma grows and identifies a new target for treatment of melanoma and other cancers.
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Microscopic view of malignant melanoma.
Credit: ??Marcus Bosenberg

Yale Cancer Center researchers have identified a gene in melanoma that can dramatically affect the growth of the disease.

The findings, published in the journal Cell Reports, provide new insight into how melanoma grows and identifies a new target for treatment of melanoma and other cancers.

Enzymes that chemically modify DNA, known as DNA methyltranferases, play critical roles in regulating gene expression during development, but their role in cancer formation is less clear. The new Yale study has uncovered a novel role for a specific DNA methyltransfearase enzyme -- DNMT3B -- in regulating melanoma growth.

Abnormally high expression of DNA methyltransferases is common in cancers, including melanoma. High expression of DNA methyltransferases can inappropriately switch genes off or on, which can contribute to tumor formation and growth. However, little is known about the specific growth-signaling pathways affected by DNA methyltransferase enzymes like DNMT3B. Yale researchers identified a specific cell-signaling pathway that is dependent on DNMT3B. They found that reducing DNMT3B delayed melanoma formation in mice by affecting mTORC2, a protein complex that is important for controlling cell growth, size, and survival.

"We have identified a new target for drug development as well as a new way of targeting an existing pathway. These findings identify DNMT3B as an attractive target for cancer therapy," said Marcus W. Bosenberg, M.D., associate professor of dermatology and pathology at Yale School of Medicine, and senior author on the study.

Malignant melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer, accounting for 80% of all skin cancer deaths. The research could lead to development of new strategies to slow melanoma growth by targeting DNMT3B, say the researchers.


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Materials provided by Yale Cancer Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Goran Micevic, Viswanathan Muthusamy, William Damsky, Nicholas Theodosakis, Xiaoni Liu, Katrina Meeth, Emily Wingrove, Manjula Santhanakrishnan, Marcus Bosenberg. DNMT3b Modulates Melanoma Growth by Controlling Levels of mTORC2 Component RICTOR. Cell Reports, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.02.010

Cite This Page:

Yale Cancer Center. "Scientists identify gene that regulates growth of melanoma." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 February 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160229221011.htm>.
Yale Cancer Center. (2016, February 29). Scientists identify gene that regulates growth of melanoma. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160229221011.htm
Yale Cancer Center. "Scientists identify gene that regulates growth of melanoma." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160229221011.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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