Scientists Find Genes That Could Work Together to Suppress Prostate Cancer

Scientists Find Genes That Could Work Together to Suppress Prostate Cancer
Scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom and collaborators have identified genes that could help prevent prostate, skin, and breast cancer. Their goal was to find genes that cooperate with the well-known tumor suppressor gene PTEN to  create a tumor suppressor network. The study, “A single-copy Sleeping Beauty transposon mutagenesis screen identifies new PTEN-cooperating tumor suppressor genes,” was published in the journal Nature Genetics. PTEN is an established tumor suppressor. It regulates pathways involved in cells’ grow and division that spin out of control in cancer. This is why more than 50 percent of prostate cancer cells have a defective or even absent PTEN gene, allowing for uncontrolled replication. While PTEN’s role as a tumor suppressor has long been known, scientists didn't know which genes and pathways cooperate with PTEN to prevent cancer. Researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute came up with a new strategy for identifying the collaborative network of PTEN in mice. They converted part of the network into a mobile DNA element called transposon. Transposons are a DNA sequence that can change position in the genome. That means that mobilizing the PTEN transposon can render the gene inactive. Since the transposon can travel anywhere in the genome, it can trigger damage in genes it’s inserted into. If this occurs in a tumor suppressor gene that co-operates with PTEN, cancer can flourish. "We developed a new method that coupled PTEN inactivation with mobilization of the transposon," Dr. Jorge de
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