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article imageGene within a gene contributes to aggressive leukemia

By Tim Sandle     Apr 25, 2014 in Science
A small gene that is embedded in a larger gene plays a role in promoting acute myeloid leukemia, according to a new study. The research also identified a drug that inhibits expression of the smaller gene.
The study has shown that a larger host gene called BAALC can contain a smaller embedded gene called microRNA-3151. The study investigated the degree to which each of the genes contributes to the development of acute myeloid leukemia.
Acute myeloid leukemia is a cancer of the myeloid line of blood cells, characterized by the rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells that accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal blood cells.
The research showed that when both genes are highly expressed, it means a bad prognosis for patients, but our experiments indicate that it is high expression of miR-3151 that really matters. This is because miR-3151 promotes growth in malignant melanoma cells.The researchers hope that the finding will lead to new drug development.
The study was carried out by scientists based at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC -- James). The findings have been published in the journal Science Signaling. The paper is titled “Intronic miR-3151 Within BAALC Drives Leukemogenesis by Deregulating the TP53 Pathway.”
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