Research – bioRxiv Pre-print – The synthetic histone-binding regulator protein PcTF activates interferon genes in breast cancer cells

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The synthetic histone-binding regulator protein PcTF activates interferon genes in breast cancer cells
Olney KC, Nyer DB, Wilson Sayres MA, Haynes KA. (2017) bioRxiv. http://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/09/07/186056

Certain types of breast cancer can be difficult to treat because cancer cells in different patients may not be completely identical. Here, we investigated and artificially manipulated the expression states of genes in drug responsive and non-responsive (triple-negative) breast cancer cell lines. Similar to findings from other researchers, we observed that certain groups of genes are commonly or differentially expressed. A large group of genes is epigenetically silenced in breast cancer cells compared to non-cancer cells. We used a synthetic fusion protein called PcTF to physically bridge histone methylation at silenced genes with proteins that drive gene activation. This experiment revealed that nineteen common PcTF-upregulated genes (PUGs) from the interferon pathway as well as other tumor suppressors became activated in all three cell types, including the triple negative cells. PcTF has the potential to act as a powerful therapeutic protein (biologic) that activates multiple anti-cancer genes at once.

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