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Cancer research

Comparative oncogenomics identifies PSMB4 and SHMT2 as potential cancer driver genes.


PMID 24755469

Abstract

Cancer genomes maintain a complex array of somatic alterations required for maintenance and progression of the disease, posing a challenge to identify driver genes among this genetic disorder. Toward this end, we mapped regions of recurrent amplification in a large collection (n=392) of primary human cancers and selected 620 genes whose expression is elevated in tumors. An RNAi loss-of-function screen targeting these genes across a panel of 32 cancer cell lines identified potential driver genes. Subsequent functional assays identified SHMT2, a key enzyme in the serine/glycine synthesis pathway, as necessary for tumor cell survival but insufficient for transformation. The 26S proteasomal subunit, PSMB4, was identified as the first proteasomal subunit with oncogenic properties promoting cancer cell survival and tumor growth in vivo. Elevated expression of SHMT2 and PSMB4 was found to be associated with poor prognosis in human cancer, supporting the development of molecular therapies targeting these genes or components of their pathways.

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