Discovery of Dysfunctional Stem Cells and Defective Regulatory Proteins Can Help in Treatment of Blood Cancers

by Sushma Rao on  April 9, 2018 at 7:09 PM Genetics & Stem Cells News
RSS Email Print This Page Comment bookmark
Font : A-A+

A new mechanism has been uncovered that shows how proteins are produced to direct stem cell function. A research team from Lund University in Sweden has announced this in press release.
Discovery of Dysfunctional Stem Cells and Defective Regulatory Proteins Can Help in Treatment of Blood Cancers
Discovery of Dysfunctional Stem Cells and Defective Regulatory Proteins Can Help in Treatment of Blood Cancers

Hematopoietic stem cells, that form mature blood cells, require a very precise amount of protein to function and defective regulation of protein production is common in certain types of aggressive human blood cancers. "Our research is potentially important for life-threatening blood cancers characterised by dysfunctional stem cells -- which are common in elderly people. High protein synthesis levels could represent an Achilles' heel to eradicating cancer-initiating cells", explains Cristian Bellodi, research team leader at Lund University's Department of Laboratory Medicine.

Dr. Bellodi's laboratory uncovered a new important function of pseudouridine, the most common type of RNA modification in human cells.

RNA is the essential molecule that decodes the genetic information in humans. It is emerging that the chemical structure of RNA molecules is extensively modified by specific enzymes normally present in our cells, which are commonly found to be altered in severe medical syndromes and various types of cancers. However, the contribution of RNA modifications in human development and disease is still mostly unexplored.

"Understanding the function of RNA modifications represents a new exciting research area. We still know very little about the mechanisms by which RNA molecules are modified, and whether this affects important biological processes in our cells. Therefore, it is essential that we learn how specific types of chemical modifications normally regulate RNA function in our cells, in order to understand how dysregulation of this process contributes to human disease, says Cristian Bellodi.

The team's key discovery was that stem cells lacking an enzyme responsible for pseudouridine modification of RNA, known as PUS7, produce abnormal amounts of protein. This protein overload leads to unbalanced stem cell growth and dramatically blocks differentiation to blood cells.

They uncovered that the PUS7 enzyme is capable of introducing a pseudouridine modification into previously uncharacterized, non-coding-protein RNA molecules that they denoted as miniTOGs (mTOGs). The presence of pseudouridine "activates" mTOGs to strongly suppress the stem cell protein synthesis machinery. This ensures that the correct amount of proteins is made.

"Our work illustrates that this exquisite control mechanism -- regulated by PUS7 and pseudouridine -- is critical to adjusting the amount of proteins needed for human stem cells to grow and produce blood", says Cristian Bellodi.

Since pseudouridine modifications may affect various RNA molecules in different types of normal and malignant cells, "our discoveries pave the way for future avenues of research aimed at exploring the role of pseudouridine in human development disease", concludes Cristian Bellodi.



Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
Notify me when reply is posted
I agree to the terms and conditions

Related Links

More News on:

Stem Cells - Cord Blood Thalassemia Stem Cells - Fundamentals Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Genetics and Stem Cells Magical Millets for Your Health Bone Marrow Transplantation The Basics of Baby Food Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Stem Cells 

News A - Z

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

News Search

Medindia Newsletters

Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Find a Doctor

Stay Connected

  • Available on the Android Market
  • Available on the App Store

News Category

News Archive

Loading...