Silencing GULP1 Gene Aids Ovarian Cancer Progression, Study Suggests

Silencing GULP1 Gene Aids Ovarian Cancer Progression, Study Suggests
Epigenetic silencing of the GULP1 gene is key for ovarian cancer progression, suggesting it could be used as a prognostic biomarker for the disease, a study found. The study, "Integrated transcriptomic and epigenomic analysis of ovarian cancer reveals epigenetically silenced GULP1," conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Insilico Medicine, was published in Cancer Letters. Epigenetics is the research field that studies how chemical modifications that affect gene expression are inherited, even though they are not encoded in the cell's DNA. Methylation, which consists on the chemical addition of a methyl group to a DNA sequence, is one of the most studied epigenetic modifications and is typically associated with gene silencing. Abnormal methylation patterns causing gene silencing are common in several cancer types and constitute one of the earliest signs of disease. In ovarian cancer specifically, the discovery of methylated, low-expressed genes could lead to the identification of potential biomarkers to assess disease susceptibility, prognosis, and early detection. In addition, identifying the signaling pathways that could be directly affected by epigenetically inactivated genes also could unveil new therapeutic targets for clinical intervention. To identify novel ovarian cancer-specific epigenetically silenced genes, researchers combined a genome-wide approach in ovarian cancer samples and normal ovarian cells with computational analysis to evaluate gene expression data. To validate gene candidates, investigators then performed functional assays using a pharmacologic unmasking strategy in three malignant and three normal ovarian cell lines treated with a demethylating agent. The analysis found a total of 4
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