February 2017

Bio-Synthesis Newsletter - February 2017

BRAF V600E Mutation Detection

BRAF V600E Mutation DetectionOur BNA Clamping Kit allows for selective and ultra-sensitive detection of BRAF V600E mutations in cancer tissue. The BRAF mutation is commonly found in human cancers such as colorectal cancer, melanoma, and thyroid cancer. In papillary thyroid cancer, BRAF mutations are associated with aggressive behavior and poor prognosis for survival. In western countries, the most common somatic genetic alterations found in colorectal cancer are mutations in BRAF, KRAS, and PIK3CA. BRAF, KRAS, and PIK3CA mutations are commonly present in colorectal cancer at frequencies of 10 to 15%, 30 to 50%, and 10 to 20%, respectively. The BRAF V600E mutation is present in more than 60% of melanoma patients, and BRAF inhibitors were found to improve patient survival in melanoma patients with this type of cancer.

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Epigenetic Peptide Targeting of sin3 with Tat-SID

Epigenetic Peptide Targeting of sin3 with Tat-SIDThe Sin3 complex is involved in normal cellular events of development, growth, differentiation and aging as well as in the transformation to pathological conditions during oncogenesis. The SIN3A-PF1 complex plays a critical role in triple negative breast cancer. Bansal et al. reported recently that a Tat-SID peptide blocks the interaction between SIN3A and PF1. Treatment of breast cancer cell lines showed a reduction of primary tumor growth and the dissemination of metastatic disease in vivo.

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Hepcidin Regulates Iron Metabolism

Hepcidin Regulates Iron MetabolismThe peptide/protein Hepcidin is a key regulator of iron metabolism in mammals. Regulation of iron levels is critical for oxygen breathing mammals including humans. Hepcidin decreases iron absorption and transferring saturation in the duodenum. Hepcidin inhibits cellular iron efflux by binding to ferroportin (FPN) which mediates iron efflux. The binding of hepcidin to FPN leads to ubiquitination and degradation of the iron transporter. According to Muckenthaler et al. around 200 billion red blood cells (RBCs) are produced every day, and 2 x 1015 iron atoms are needed every second to maintain adequate erythropoiesis during the production of RBCs. Every day humans produce approximately 20 mL of blood which contains 6 g of the protein hemoglobin and 20 mg of iron. Iron deficiency is a common cause of anemia in humans. However, it must be noted that iron overload can also have a detrimental effect.

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Can Antisense RNA Treat Alzheimers?

Antisense RNA Treat AlzheimersDuring the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, the protein tau forms fibrous tangles inside neurons. Neurons of brain regions important for navigation and memory contain a transport system which is destroyed first. Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment available to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s. At present, scientists believe that Alzheimer’s disease gets triggered by the accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide. Aβ influences the phosphorylation of tau, a microtubule-associated protein. Hyper-phosphorylation of tau disrupts its normal function. A newly developed therapeutic approach uses an antisense gapmer DNA that binds to messenger RNA coding for tau. The aim is to shut down tau production in order to prevent the buildup of fibrous tangles. Apparently, this approach worked in a mouse model suggesting that successful treatment of Alzheimer’s may be possible soon.

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