Brain Tumor Formation Better Understood
January 20, 2012 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 19 (UPI) — The connection between two RNA-binding proteins may affect glioblastoma, the brain cancer that killed the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, U.S. researchers say.
Luiz O. F. Penalva, an assistant professor in the department of cellular and structural biology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, said the connection between two RNA-binding proteins — Musashi1 and HuR — can have important consequences to glioblastoma.
“This is a novel finding in terms of what we know about glioblastoma development,” Penalva said in a statement. “Most of what we know about glioblastoma is limited to gene transcription-level research, but there are other regulatory processes beyond transcription that when disrupted could contribute to tumor formation.”
RNA-binding proteins are key regulators in all cellular processes and changes that affect either their function or expression levels can have dramatic consequences to protein production and can lead to disease states including cancer, Penalva explained.
The study, published in the Molecular Cancer Research, showed increased levels of HuR up-regulate the expression of another RNA-binding protein, Musashi1. Both proteins control the expression of cancer-related genes; their interaction brings together two important gene networks with major consequences to glioblastoma development, Penalva said.
“To treat cancer, you have to understand what triggers tumor formation,” Penalva said. “If we continue to think that all the activity is at the transcription level, we are just fooling ourselves. Clearly, something is going on beyond that level.”