An unexpected role for epigenetic enzymes in cancer

December 6, 2016 by Ziba Kashef, Yale University

To better understand how cancer initiates and spreads, Yale associate professor of pathology Qin Yan turned to the field of epigenetics, which examines changes in the expression of genes and proteins that do not affect the underlying genetic codes.

In a Yale-led study, Yan and his co-authors focused on a family of enzymes—known as KDM5—that had been shown in previous studies to be involved in and spreading.

First author Lauren Blair, an associate research scientist, conducted biochemical studies with Baker's yeast as the model system, and identified an unexpected role of these enzymes in the process by which genetic messages are interpreted by . Further studies showed that the enzymes' role as regulators of this process is also important for human tumor cells to grow and spread. The finding could lead to a therapy that inhibits the enzyme, and , in cancer patients.

The study is published in Science Advances.

Explore further: Single-cell analysis supports a role for cancer stem cells in brain tumor growth

More information: L. P. Blair et al. KDM5 lysine demethylases are involved in maintenance of 3'UTR length, Science Advances (2016). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501662

Related Stories

Single-cell analysis supports a role for cancer stem cells in brain tumor growth

November 2, 2016
A study analyzing brain tumor genomics on a single-cell level has found evidence that cancer stem cells fuel the growth of oligodendrogliomas, a slow-growing but incurable form of brain cancer. In their paper receiving advance ...

Anticancer drug discovery: Structures of KDM5 histone demethylase inhibitors

July 14, 2016
When doctors hurl toxic death at cancer cells, often a few will survive and come back. A family of enzymes called KDM5 histone demethylases is emerging as important for this resilience, and drugs that inhibit KDM5 enzymes ...

Study reveals new role for Hippo pathway in suppressing cancer immunity

December 1, 2016
Previous studies identified the Hippo pathway kinases LATS1/2 as a tumor suppressor, but new research led by University of California San Diego School of Medicine scientists reveals a surprising role for these enzymes in ...

Scientists identify gene that regulates the growth of melanoma

February 29, 2016
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 ...

New model for understanding myeloma

October 12, 2016
All cancers originate from an earlier, or precursor, state—such as a benign or asymptomatic condition. To develop new approaches to cancer prevention, scientists have attempted to grow tumor cells from  precursor states ...

New studies create better understanding of cancer-spreading enzymes

December 2, 2015
As a part of the human immune system, white blood cells create a number of enzymes that help fight disease. Sometimes, these enzymes can malfunction, causing damage to the body or increasing cancer growth. Now, researchers ...

Recommended for you

Biologists discover how pancreatic tumors lead to weight loss

June 20, 2018
Patients with pancreatic cancer usually experience significant weight loss, which can begin very early in the disease. A new study from MIT and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute offers insight into how this happens, and suggests ...

Researchers find 11 genes responsible for the spread of cancer

June 20, 2018
A groundbreaking discovery by University of Alberta researchers has identified previously-unknown therapeutic targets that could be key to preventing the spread of cancer.

'Kiss of death' cancer: How computational geeks may have uncovered a therapy for a deadly disease

June 19, 2018
It's called the 'kiss of death'. Triple negative breast cancer has no targeted drug therapy and, as such, the only hope for these patients is chemotherapy. Triple negative breast cancer is aggressive and deadly. Patients ...

Team discovers gene mutations linked to pancreatic cancer

June 19, 2018
Six genes contain mutations that may be passed down in families, substantially increasing a person's risk for pancreatic cancer. That's according to Mayo Clinic research published in the June 19 edition of the JAMA. However, ...

Ovarian cancer cells switched off by 'unusual' mechanism

June 19, 2018
Scientists at the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre at Imperial College London have discovered a mechanism that deactivates ovarian cancer cells.

Breast cancer could be prevented by targeting epigenetic proteins, study suggests

June 19, 2018
Researchers at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto have discovered that epigenetic proteins promote the proliferation of mammary gland stem cells in response to the sex hormone progesterone. The study, which will ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.