Tuesday, November 20, 2018

New link between DNA-protein Binding Sites and Cancer

In the scientific community, it has long been speculated and theorized that the improper translation of genes can lead to cancer development. Cancer is a disease in which cells grow unregulated and uncontrolled, thus having many negative side effects on patients. A major roadblock standing in the way of cancer treatment progress is the differences observed across specific forms of cancer, which can be better combatted as overall knowledge expands. This research study focuses on the different regions of chromosomes that are transcribed by DNA-proteins. These transcription sites determine which genes are ultimately translated and expressed. Therefore, by understanding the selection mechanism for specific translation sites, one can understand the mechanism behind different hazardous gene translations that lead to cancer. 

The main research technique employed in this study was ATAC-seq, or assay for transpose-accessible chromatin sequencing. In short, this technique allows researchers to highlight all of the available sites for transcription on chromatin at a given time. Chromatin is normally found in a condensed and bond state, leaving only certain exposed sites available for transcription. Researchers used over 400 cell samples from 23 different forms of cancer in this study. Findings showed that mutations to chromatin caused new sites for transcription to become available to the transcription promoter, some of which were hazardous when expressed. The available sequences become transcribed into mRNA molecules that are expressed following translation. Expression of such sequences causes abnormal cell activity in patients. 

Utilizing this sequencing method to study different regions that alter this binding protein's activity, we can gain more knowledge about which genes are improperly coded for in different forms of cancer and each of their subsequent effects. Finding a sequence that causes cancerous cells to continue to proliferate or metastasize would be a major leap forward in terms of our collective understanding of how types of cancer fundamentally occur. Collectively, this new information can offer better patient insight, better evaluation methods, and more effective treatments.

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