Unusual cancerous allies

A normal enzyme joins forces with its mutant form to result in certain human lymphomas

Cristina Luiggi
Nov 15, 2010
Researchers have described an unusual mechanism at work in certain types of B-cell lymphomas that requires the joint activities of normal and mutant forms of an enzyme.
DNA wrapped around histone proteins
Image: Wikimedia commons, Zephyris
In a linkurl:paper;http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/11/08/1012525107.abstract published this week in the __Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences__, a team of scientists from the pharmaceutical company Epizyme describes how in cells heterozygous for a mutation in EZH2—an enzyme that induces epigenetic changes in one of the histone proteins—the normal and mutant form of the enzyme work together to silence genes involved in suppressing tumors."It's a fascinating paper," said linkurl:Olivier Elemento,;http://physiology.med.cornell.edu/faculty/elemento/lab/ a cancer biologist at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City who was not involved in the study. To his knowledge, it's the first time such a mechanism has been described in cancer. "It is definitely a very unusual situation where you have a mutated gene...
C.J. Sneeringer, et al., "Coordinated activities of wild-type plus mutant EZH2 drive tumor-associated hypertrimethylation of lysine 27 on histone H3 (H3K27) in human B-cell lymphomas," PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1012525107, 2010.



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