Evolutionarily novel genes work in tumors

December 16, 2019

A team of scientists from Peter the Great St.Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) studied the evolutionary ages of human genes and identified a new class of them expressed in tumors -- tumor specifically expressed, evolutionarily novel (TSEEN) genes. This confirms the team's earlier theory about the evolutionary role of neoplasms.

A report about the study was published in Scientific Reports.

A tumor is a pathological new growth of tissues. Due to genetic changes, it has impaired cellular regulation and therefore defective functionality. Tumors can be benign or malignant. Unlike the latter, the former grow slowly, don't metastasize, and are easy to remove. Malignant tumors (cancer) are one of the primary mortality factors in the world.

A team of scientists from Saint Petersburg discovered a new class of evolutionarily novel genes present in all tumors -- the so-called TSEEN (Tumor Specifically Expressed Evolutionarily Novel) genes. "The evolutionary role of these genes is to provide genetic material for the origin of new progressive characteristics. TSEEN genes are expressed in many neoplasms and therefore can be excellent tumor markers," said Prof. Andrei Kozlov, a PhD in Biology, the head of Laboratory "Molecular Virology and Oncology" at Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University.

The new research confirms a theory that has been proposed by the A. Kozlov earlier. According to it, the number of oncogenes in a human body should correspond to the number of differential cell types. The theory also suggested that the evolution of oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, and the genes that determine cell differentiation goes on concurrently. The theory is based on the hypothesis of evolution through tumor neofunctionalization, according to which hereditary neoplasms might have played an important role during the early stages of metazoan evolution by providing additional cell masses for the origin of new cell types, tissues, and organs. Evolutionarily novel genes that originate in the DNA of germ cells are expressed in these extra cells.

Prof. Kozlov also made a reference to the article 'Evolutionarily Novel Genes Are Involved in Development of Progressive Traits in Humans' (2019) that has recently been published by his laboratory. In this article the team confirmed their hypothesis using transgenic fish tumors and fish evolutionarily novel genes. The orthologs of such genes are found in the human genome, but in humans they play a role in the development of progressive characteristics not encountered in fish (e.g. lungs, breasts, placenta, ventricular septum in the heart, etc). This confirms the hypothesis about the evolutionary role of tumors. The studies referred to in the article lasted for several years, and their participants used a wide range of methods from the fields of bioinformatics and molecular biology.

"Our work is of great social importance, as the cancer problem hasn't been solved yet. Our theory suggests new prevention and therapy strategies," said Prof. Kozlov. According to him, to fight cancer, a new paradigm should be developed in oncology. TSEEN genes may be used to create new cancer test systems and antitumor vaccines.

Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.