4
$\begingroup$

Many labs and many projects in biology institutes and university departments have been starting to study chromatin. Chromatin states, chromatin interactions, chromatin loopings, chromatin behaviours, etc. seem to have become the new priority of cancer scientists.

I'm new to this field so there are many things that I still have to understand about chromatin and its relationship to cancer. These questions just flowed into my mind:

What is the relationship between chromatin and cancer?

In cancer research, why is it so important to study chromatin and how chromatin loopings form?

What do scientists would like to find out about chromatin when they investigate it?

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is a very very broad question. Generally speaking chromatin is condensed DNA wrapped around histones and held in place by different proteins, which control what sequences of DNA get exposed or unexposed to transcriptional enzymes. This affects what proteins get translated and what doesn't. Depending on what proteins are translated affects everything about a cell and its survival/metabolism. $\endgroup$ – Anne Jan 29 '15 at 20:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Another thing, it is extremely important in the process of mitosis and meiosis in cells. $\endgroup$ – Anne Jan 29 '15 at 20:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In cancer cells one of the main microscopic feature is nucleus: cytoplasm ratio. When a cancer cell is stained, it is seen in most cases that this ratio is increased as compared to a normal cell. Mitotic figures are seen much more than in normal cells. So this is another reason why chromatin are studied $\endgroup$ – One Face Jan 30 '15 at 1:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'd read through Watson's "Molecular Biology of the Gene" (7th ED) section on chromatin, nucleosomes, and it's regulation. Then, read The impact of chromatin in human cancer: linking DNA methylation to gene silencing, and Chromatin remodeling and cancer. $\endgroup$ – CKM Jan 30 '15 at 21:29
2
$\begingroup$

Most cancers involve, in addition to genetic changes, a whole suite of epigenetic changes that orchestrate changes in transcriptional profiles. Additionally, multiple epigenetic modifiers (Eg - EZH2) are associated with worse prognoses. There is also the fact that chromatin modification machinery is very highly mutated in cancers; examples include EP300 - a histone acetyltransferase, and members of the SWI/SNF nucleosome remodelling complex. The study of epigenetic factors needed for the continued transcription of oncogenes like Myc has also led to the formulation of potential therapeutic strategies (Check out some of the literature on inhibiting Brd4 to silence Myc in certain settings).

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.