Exploring the role of gene splicing in triple negative breast cancer
By Kim Krieger, UConn
If your DNA is a cookbook, a single gene is a recipe. But it’s a flexible recipe that if edited one way can make a pie; edited another way can make a cake. And that difference can mean cancer, as a team of researchers who looked at those gene editors writes in Cell Reports.
Those gene editors are known as splicing factors. When a gene is read out and copied, splicing factors choose where to cut and paste the text so that it will give the right recipe to the cell for that moment in time.
“A gene can code for a protein that causes cell death or a protein that prevents it, depending on the editing,” says breast cancer researcher a molecular biologist at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine.
Anczukow and colleagues at JAX, UConn Health, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Envisagenics were curious whether splicing factors could be responsible for the way some breast cancers grow and spread through the body. If a splicing factor was giving the cell the wrong recipe, it could cause the cell to behave badly, growing out of control or migrating through the body to cause cancers elsewhere, in what’s called metastasis.