; Oncogenes
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Lecture 43            BSCI 420,421,620                Dec 13, 2002

“It ain’t over till the fat lady sings” – Joe Gibbs

1. Cancer-critical genes

   a. Oncogenes

   b. Tumor-suppressor genes

2. Cancer therapies
1. Cancer-critical genes – whose mutation can contribute
   to the development of cancer

   a. Oncogenes – in which a gain of function mutation drives a
   cell toward cancer (can be tested by DNA transfection assay,
   because effect is pos & dominant).

   The normal precursors of oncogenes are proto-oncogenes.
   Generally genes that function in a normal regulatory pathway,
   eg, a mitogen pathway.

   b. Tumor-suppressor genes – loss of function mutations
   create increased likelihood of cancer.
An oncogene (A) vs a tumor-suppressor gene (B)
Cancer-critical genes can be divided into 5 classes

4 Classes of oncogenes + tumor-suppressor genes
produce proteins that act as:

1. Mitogen pathway proteins

a) Mitogen – Sis is a PDGF that is secreted by the same
cell that has a PDGF receptor and therefore sets up an autocrine
stimulation of growth (against the rules).

b) Receptor – Erb B is a truncated EGF receptor that dimerizes
wo EGF (prolif is growth-factor independent)

c) G-protein – Ras with mutant GTPase activity, so once it binds
GTP, always on.
1. Mitogen pathway proteins, cont.

   d) Protein kinase – Raf constitutively active wo Ras bound

   e) Transcription factor – Myc overexpressed

2. Cell cycle proteins - Cyclins A,D, E remain high because
   mutant cyclin destruction box sequence

3. Immortality Proteins –

   a) Telomerase turned back on in adult somatic cell
   -> unlimited no of proliferations

   b) Angiogenesis factors – VEGF secreted by tumor attracts
   blood vessels to supply the tumor w nutrients
4. Metastatic proteins (allow migration out of tissues)

  a) Tyrosine kinase – Src phosphorylates vinculin and other
  actin-binding proteins to increase cell motility

   b) Proteases – type 4 collagenase degrades basal lamena

   c) Attachment factors – Fibronectin secreted instead of
       transmembrane protein reduces attachment to ECMatrix.

5. Tumor suppressor Proteins

   a) Cell cycle “brake” - RB mutant fails to bind E2F

   b) Damage contol switch – p53 mutant fails to activate p21 and
       thus suppress cell cycle; also may fail to activate apoptosis.

   c) p15, p16, p21 fail to inhibit Cdks
Role of p16 and Rb
How a DNA tumor virus (Papilloma) activates cell
Proliferation and uterine cancer.
2. Cancer therapies

a) Specific oncogene protein inhibitors

  Gleevec – Specifically inhibits the kinase activity of the
Bcr-Abl fusion protein created when chrom 9 & 22 translocations
occur to create the Philadelphia chromosome myeloid leukemia.
(not myc)
Other therapeutic inhibitors:

2. Angiogenesis inhibitors

3. Telomerase inhibitors

4. Inhibitors of Ras (block syn of farnesyl tail)
   a) Lovostatin (side effect: blocks cholesterol syn)

   b) D-Limonene

5. Virus that kills only p53 repressed cells.

 Mutant adenovirus that lacks the p53 repressor E6 so
replicates only in tumor cells not expressing p53.
Therefore these viruses specifically kill only the tumor

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