Pokemon's cancer role revealed

Important new insights into neoplastic development provided by report in Nature

Marta Paterlini(paterlm@mail.rockefeller.edu)
Jan 19, 2005

Scientists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) report in Nature this week that they have identified a new cellular oncogene.

The team led, by cancer geneticist Pier Paolo Pandolfi, showed for the first time that the so-called Pokemon gene—which shares a name with a Japanese cartoon popular with children—functions as a proto-oncogene repressing the tumor suppressor ARF.

"This is a very elegant paper," said Gary Gilliland, a Howard Hughes scholar at Harvard Medical School, who did not participate in the study. "The observations of Dr. Pandolfi and his colleagues provide new insights into mechanisms of tumorigenesis."

Gilliland noted that loss of function of critical tumor suppressors may occur through mutation or deletion and that decreased expression due to epigenetic modifications may also explain loss of function of tumor suppressors.

"Several lines of evidence in this report indicate that a novel mechanism of inhibition of expression of tumor...

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