Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Study Identifies RUNX3 as 'First Line of Defense' in Tumor Suppression

RUNX3 has been intensively studied for its role as a tumor suppressor. However, a recent paper in the journal Cancer Cell indicates that RUNX3 may be even more important than previously thought and scientists hope that this understanding will lead to improved cancer treatments.

The report is a collaboration of Chinese scientists entitled: 'Runx3 Inactivation Is a Crucial Early Event in the Development of Lung Adenocarcinoma'. These scientists describe how they were able to perform targeted inactivation of Runx3 and show that this leads to adenoma formation and more rapid formation of adenocarcinoma in the lungs of mice. Furthermore Runx3 was observed to be frequently inactivated in human lung adenocarcinomas that had mutated K-Ras. Although this study focused on lung cancer it opens the possibility that RUNX3 could be similarly pivotal for other cancers.

Structure of the RUNX3 protein
by Emw
The means of Runx3 inactivation may play a key role in future therapies in which this inactivation takes place. Runx3 was epigenetically inactivated, meaning that DNA methylation silences the gene without any alteration to Runx3 coding information. Since it is known that epigenetically inactivated genes can chemically reactivated the search now begins for a means to reverse the epigenetic inactivation of Runx3.

Some information for this post was obtained from the Science Daily article: Scientists Find 'Missing Link' in Important Tumor Suppression Mechanism