Slug, a stem cell regulator, keeps breast cells healthy by promoting repair of DNA damage

ScienceDaily | 7/16/2019 | Staff
hubbog (Posted by) Level 3
Transcription factors are proteins that bind to DNA sequences and play a role in cancer. The research team previously reported that Slug plays a central role in some types of breast cancers. Building on their prior work, the researchers used breast cells from both humans and mice to explore how Slug might be helpful in maintaining cell fitness.

"These findings help us understand how Slug functions in normal breast tissue and how it may function in breast cancer," said breast cancer researcher Charlotte Kuperwasser at Tufts University School of Medicine. "Slug is overexpressed in a subtype of breast cancer called basal-like breast cancer. If Slug is also critical for DNA damage repair mechanisms in basal-like breast cancers, it might increase the attractiveness of Slug as a therapeutic target."

Function - Stem - Cells - Bodies - Tissues

The main function of stem cells in our bodies is to replenish tissues, and to do so, stem cells need to stay healthy. One of the most important ways stem cells do this is by efficiently repairing damaged DNA, as unrepaired damage can lead to mutations in DNA that disrupt normal stem cell behavior. Upon detecting DNA damage, stem cells activate checkpoints to prevent replication of damaged cells, and they only regain regenerative activity after damaged DNA has been properly repaired.

"Our previous work established that Slug is critical for stem cell activity in breast tissue, but we suspected that there was more to the story," said Kuperwasser. "In asking what other functions Slug might be performing in breast tissue, particularly with regard to maintaining cell fitness, we found something quite interesting, which is that Slug regulates breast stem cell function partially through DNA damage repair."

Researchers

More specifically, the researchers...
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