Thursday, May 2, 2019

Bacteria helped discover human cancer - causing proteins

A study published in the journal Cell discovered through unconventional approach using bacteria, human proteins that can lead to DNA damage and promote cancer. Dr. Susan M. Rosenberg, Ben Love Chair in cancer research at Baylor College of Medicine and the university of Austin Texas, discussed that cancer is a disease of a mutation and while external factors such as smoking cigarettes, radiation and sunlight can cause mutation, most of the DNA damage happens whiten the cell mediated by cell components including proteins. The study's aim was to uncover proteins that were overproduced and by that causing DNA damage leading to cancer. To understand the mechanism of DNA damage relevant to cancer the researchers in this study used genetically modified bacteria that glowed red due to fluorescence when DNA was damaged. Each gene was then individually amplified to determine which one was causing the glow.
 The results surprisingly indicated proteins that are not directly involved in the DNA  repair to cause DNA damage, they were involved for instance in the transfer of the molecule. There were of course proteins causing damage directly involved in the DNA processing as expected, but not as many as the ones not directly connected DNA.
As co- responding author Dr. Kyle M. Miller mentioned in an article published in the Baylor College of Medicine  " The study is opening up new avenues for discoveries of novel mechanisms that protect our genomes and how their dysfunction can alter the integrity of our DNA and cause cancer."
I find this research very important as cancer is one of the leading causes of death world wide. There are many different types of cancer, but this research provides a new perspective on the mechanism of DNA damage, which could be used to create alternative ways to prevent or minimize the damage, and therefore cancer itself.

1 comment:

  1. Nice article and great discovery! With Cancer more prevalent than its ever been this is another step forward. Since we all know cancer first develops from mutated DNA or cells, understanding the DNA damage and repair system is key to curing this disease. This could hopefully lead to other more beneficial treatment plans in the near future.