Controlling Quadruple Helix DNA Could Prevent Some Cancers
January 23, 2013 12:25 AM
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Making synthetic molecules that isolate the quadruple helix could stop cell proliferation at the source of tumors
Scientists believe that the quadruple helix, which was found in human cells, may be
linked to cancer
-- and manipulating them could help fight the disease.
Researchers from Cambridge University, led by Giulia Biffi, have found that the four-stranded version of the double helix (the structure formed by double-stranded molecules of DNA and RNA) may be present in the development of some cancers in humans.
The four-stranded quadruple helix, called the G-quadruplex (due to the guanine base that holds the DNA strands together), forms most frequently during a cells s-phase, which is when the cell
copies its DNA
The scientists found this out by developing antibody proteins that are capable of finding human DNA regions loaded with G-quadruplex. The proteins, which had fluorescent markers so that they could be tracked, binded to these regions.
The study notes that genes that mutate to increase DNA replication boost cancer cells. Increased DNA replication causes a boost in quadruplex structures; hence, the G-quadruplex may have some role in the development of certain cancers. If controlled, the four-stranded structures could be isolated.
By making synthetic molecules that isolate the G-quadruplex, cell proliferation (the source of tumors) could be stopped.
This study appeared in the journal
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1/23/2013 11:11:01 AM
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