JAN 04, 2019 03:51 PM PST

When the ADAR1 Enzyme Goes Awry, it Encourages Cancer

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Scientists at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine have identified a function of an enzyme called ADAR1 (adenosine deaminase acting on RNA 1). It’s a member of a small family of enzymes that help control gene expression by altering bases of double-stranded RNA molecules. The work shows that ADAR1 might be a new target when developing ways stop cancer cells from gaining resistance to therapeutics, and may help show at an early stage when cells are becoming malignant.
  
In pre-malignant cells, the enzyme’s functions are taken over, and it’s used to promote the transformation of a cell to malignancy. “We were able to illuminate the abilities of ADAR1 to ‘hyper-mutate’ tumor suppressor RNAs in leukemia and, at the same time, edit the microRNA aimed at targeting the tumor suppressor RNA. This enzyme turns on cancer resistance via a domino effect on RNA instead of DNA,” explained Qingfei Jiang, Ph.D., the first author of a report on the findings in Cancer Cell.

 

Sources: UCSD News, Cancer Cell

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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