Enzyme that silences DNA activity may be crucially involved in health and cancer

Lyra Nara Blog

Genomics: The significance of silence

Understanding the action of Wip1, an enzyme that controls DNA silencing, could help explain both the development of cancer and resistance to anticancer drugs. Credit: Svisio/iStock/Thinkstock

Cancers can develop when the complex molecular networks that control the activity of DNA are disrupted. Researchers from the A*STAR Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Singapore, led by Dmitry Bulavin, have studied Wip1, an enzyme central to these molecular networks that may both help to keep cells healthy but also become part of the problem when things go wrong. The team’s findings suggest that this enzyme, and its associated signaling pathways, could be a target for the development of new drugs to combat some types of cancer. They may also explain why some cancers are resistant to drug therapy.

Bulavin and co-workers uncovered the role of the Wip1 enzyme when examining the deactivation or ‘silencing’ of regions of DNA by DNA methylation…

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