Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Mitochondrial DNA and Cancer
A new study done at the University of Alabama tested 57 forms of colorectal cancer and found that mitochondrial DNA is connected to the development of colon and rectal cancer. The study found that cancer cells from the colon and rectum had more mitochondrial within the nucleus, suggesting the mitochondrial DNA can migrate from the mitochondria and insert itself into the human genome. In humans, the YME1L1 gene inhibits mitochondrial DNA from inserting itself into the human genome. Of the 57 colorectal cancer forms tested, 9 of them showed mutations in the YME1L1 gene. Upon testing other cancers as well, there were also mutations in the YME1L1 gene. It is still unknown as to what exactly causes cancer to develop after the migration of mitochondrial DNA, but in the future by monitoring the amount of mitochondrial DNA in the human genome the progression of cancer can be tracked better, detected earlier, and risk assessed easier.