In most cases of prostate cancer, tumor cell growth is stimulated by the action of male hormones, or androgens, such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
For this to happen, these hormones have to bind to androgen receptors, proteins located mostly in the cytoplasm of prostate cells. When hormone and receptor bind, they migrate to the cell nucleus, where they either activate or inhibit a number of genes to create a gene expression pattern that favors tumor proliferation.
A study published in the journal Frontiers in Genetics has identified 600 novel long noncoding RNA molecules (lncRNAs) that appear to be responsible for fine regulation of this process. LncRNAs are a large class of RNA molecules that have a length of more than 200 nucleotides and do not encode proteins.
“The study raises the hypothesis that some of these lncRNAs make a prostate tumor more aggressive. If confirmed by future research, the discovery opens up a world of new possibilities,” said Sergio Verjovski-Almeida, a researcher at Butantan Institute in São Paulo State, Brazil, and principal investigator for the project supported by São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP.
As Verjovski-Almeida explained, only 2% of the human genome produces messenger RNA molecules,
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