Nav: Home

TSRI researchers show how circadian 'clock' may influence cancer pathway

November 16, 2016

LA JOLLA, CA - November 16, 2016 - A new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) describes an unexpected role for proteins involved with our daily "circadian" clocks in influencing cancer growth.

The research, published recently in the journal Molecular Cell, suggests that disruptions in circadian rhythms might leave levels of an important cancer-linked protein, called cMYC, unchecked.

"This appears to have big implications for the connection between circadian rhythms and cancer," said TSRI biologist Katja Lamia, senior author of the study.

There is growing evidence that shift work and frequent jet lag can raise a person's risk of cancer, suggesting a link between daily rhythms and cell growth. "We know this connection exists, but we haven't known why," said Lamia.

The researchers focused on proteins called cryptochromes, which evolved from bacterial proteins that sense light and repair DNA damage caused by sunlight. In humans, these proteins, called CRY1 and CRY2, regulate our circadian clocks, which influence what times of day we become tired, hungry and much more.

Using cells from mouse models, the researchers demonstrated that deleting the gene that expresses CRY2 reduced the cells' ability to degrade a protein called cMYC. Without CRY2 keeping cMYC at normal levels, the researchers saw increased cell proliferation--similar to the abnormal growth seen in cancers.

Further studies of protein structures suggested that CRY2 is a key player in a process to "mark" cMYC for degradation. The researchers said it is significant that this process occurs after gene transcription--once the proteins are already produced--rather than during transcription, as in many other cryptochrome functions.

"This is a function of a circadian protein that has never been seen before," said TSRI Research Associate Anne-Laure Huber, who served as first author of the study.

The researchers say more studies are needed to confirm this connection between circadian clocks and cancer in human tissues.
-end-
In addition to Lamia and Huber, authors of the study, "CRY2 and FBXL3 Cooperatively Degrade c-MYC," were Stephanie J. Papp, Alanna B. Chan, Sabine D. Jordan, Anna Kriebs and Madelena Nguyen of TSRI; Emma Henriksson of TSRI and Lund University; Martina Wallace and Christian M. Metallo of the University of California, San Diego; and Zhizhong Li of the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation and Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research.

This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants DK090188, DK097164, CA188652 and NIGMS P41-GM103311), the Searle Scholars Program through the Kinship Foundation, the Sidney Kimmel Foundation, the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, the Swedish Research Council, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the American Heart Association (grant 15POST22510020).

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs more than 2,500 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists--including two Nobel laureates and 20 members of the National Academy of Science, Engineering or Medicine--work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. For more information, see http://www.scripps.edu.

Scripps Research Institute

Related Cancer Articles:

Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
Cancer genomics continued: Triple negative breast cancer and cancer immunotherapy
Continuing PLOS Medicine's special issue on cancer genomics, Christos Hatzis of Yale University, New Haven, Conn., USA and colleagues describe a new subtype of triple negative breast cancer that may be more amenable to treatment than other cases of this difficult-to-treat disease.
Metabolite that promotes cancer cell transformation and colorectal cancer spread identified
Osaka University researchers revealed that the metabolite D-2-hydroxyglurate (D-2HG) promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition of colorectal cancer cells, leading them to develop features of lower adherence to neighboring cells, increased invasiveness, and greater likelihood of metastatic spread.
UH Cancer Center researcher finds new driver of an aggressive form of brain cancer
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers have identified an essential driver of tumor cell invasion in glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer that can occur at any age.
UH Cancer Center researchers develop algorithm to find precise cancer treatments
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers developed a computational algorithm to analyze 'Big Data' obtained from tumor samples to better understand and treat cancer.
New analytical technology to quantify anti-cancer drugs inside cancer cells
University of Oklahoma researchers will apply a new analytical technology that could ultimately provide a powerful tool for improved treatment of cancer patients in Oklahoma and beyond.
Radiotherapy for lung cancer patients is linked to increased risk of non-cancer deaths
Researchers have found that treating patients who have early stage non-small cell lung cancer with a type of radiotherapy called stereotactic body radiation therapy is associated with a small but increased risk of death from causes other than cancer.
Cancer expert says public health and prevention measures are key to defeating cancer
Is investment in research to develop new treatments the best approach to controlling cancer?
UI Cancer Center, Governors State to address cancer disparities in south suburbs
The University of Illinois Cancer Center and Governors State University have received a joint four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to help both institutions conduct community-based research to reduce cancer-related health disparities in Chicago's south suburbs.
Leading cancer research organizations to host international cancer immunotherapy conference
The Cancer Research Institute, the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy, the European Academy of Tumor Immunology, and the American Association for Cancer Research will join forces to sponsor the first International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York, Sept.

Related Cancer Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...