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First genome-wide RNAi screens in mice identify physiological regulators of tissue and tumor growth

First genome-wide RNAi screens in mice identify physiological regulators of tissue and tumor growth | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Tissue growth is the multifaceted outcome of a cell's intrinsic capabilities and its interactions with the surrounding environment. Decoding these complexities is essential for understanding human development and tumorigenesis. A group from Rockefeller University in New York recently tackled this problem by carrying out the first genome-wide RNA-interference-mediated screens in mice. Focusing on skin development and oncogenic (Hras-G12V-induced) hyperplasia, these screens uncover previously unknown as well as anticipated regulators of embryonic epidermal growth. Among the top oncogenic screen hits are Mllt6 and the Wnt effector β-catenin, which maintain Hras-G12V-dependent hyperproliferation. The researchers also exposed β-catenin as an unanticipated antagonist of normal epidermal growth, functioning through Wnt-independent intercellular adhesion. Finally, they validated functional significance in mouse and human cancers, thereby establishing the feasibility of in vivo mammalian genome-wide investigations to dissect tissue development and tumorigenesis. By documenting some oncogenic growth regulators, they paved the way for future investigations of other hits and raised promise for unearthing new targets for cancer therapies.

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