Study Examines the Role of Splicing Factors in the Growth and Spread of Breast Cancer


If one’s DNA is a cookbook then one single gene is a recipe. However, it is a flexible recipe that can be edited the way one wants. If anything goes wrong then it could lead to cancer. Recently, this study by a team of researchers on gene editors published in Cell Reports.

These gene editors are called splicing factors. Splicing factors play a role for copying and reading of genes. It decides the place to cut and paste the copied part. Splicing factor also gives right direction to the cell.

Few Splicing Factors Associated with Cancer Behavior of Cells

Olga Anczukow is a molecular biologist holding joint affiliations at UConn Health, University of Connecticut and Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine (JAX). Anczukow said that a gene is capable of coding for a cell death causing protein or a protein preventing it. Everything depends on the editing. Anczukow had been a post doctorate researcher in the laboratory of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory professor Adrian Krainer. Krainer is also a co-author on the paper.

Anczukow and his team at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, JAX, and UConn Health were eager to know if there exists a link between breast cancer and splicing factors. They wanted to know if these splicing factors are in any way responsible for the way breast cancer spreads and grows. When a splicing factor goes the wrong way, it tags along the cell causing it to behave in an abnormal way. Cells could also grow out of control and might move through the human body causing cancer somewhere else in the body. This condition is known as metastasis.

The researchers looked at the cancer-affected cells of breasts. They discovered that very less splicing factors could be somehow connected with the cancerous behavior of cells. Of these, TRA2β – a splicing factor seems to be abundant of triple-negative breast cancers. This is worst among all.

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