2/11/13: Enzyme Behind Cancer Mutations


Three MSI Principal Investigators are co-authors on a paper that appears in the February 7, 2013 edition of the journal Nature (“APOBEC3B is an enzymatic source of mutation in breast cancer,” Nature, DOI:10.1038/nature11881 (2013)). The paper reports the researchers’ discovery of an enzyme that could be a source of mutations in breast-cancer tumors. This research could have broad implications for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. A press release about the research appears on the Masonic Cancer Center website.


Associate Professor Reuben Harris (Masonic Cancer Center, BMBB) was the lead researcher on the study. He has used MSI resources for several years in his investigations of mammalian APOBEC proteins. Professor Harris, in collaboration with MSI PI Associate Professor Hiroshi Matsuo (BMBB), previously studied how the protein APOBEC3G can alter the HIV genome. In 2008, this work was reported in Nature; MSI highlighted the research in the Fall 2008 MSI Research Bulletin and in an MSI Research Spotlight in January 2010.


Other MSI PIs working on this study include Professor Douglas Yee (Director, Masonic Cancer Center) and Professor Natalia Tretyakova (Masonic Cancer Center). Professor Yee uses MSI resources to support his research into the development of personalized, targeted drugs to fight breast cancer; Professor Tretyakova uses MSI to process data obtained from mass spectrometry analysis of how chemotherapeutic drugs affect DNA.


Additional stories about these findings appeared in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Minnesota Daily, and UMNews.