New York: Researchers have discovered new connections in the network of genes that control normal lung cells, and that may go awry in the formation of lung tumours and other lung diseases.
The lung transcription factor Nkx2-1 is an important gene regulating lung formation and normal respiratory functions after birth.
But alterations in the expression of this transcription factor can lead to diseases such as lung interstitial disease, post-natal respiratory distress and lung cancer, the findings showed.
Alterations in the expression of the gene Nkx2-1 can lead to diseases such as lung interstitial disease, post-natal respiratory distress and lung cancer, the findings showed.
Transcription factors are proteins involved in the process of converting DNA into messenger RNA.
"This study adds new players to the regulatory mechanisms driven by Nkx2-1 in lung epithelial cells that may have implications in lung development and tumorigenesis," said corresponding author Jean-Bosco Tagne, assistant professor of medicine and molecular medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM).
In analyses of lung epithelial cell lines of an experimental model in which endogenous Nkx2-1 was reduced compared to cells with normal levels of Nkx2-1, the researchers identified numerous micro-RNAs that change their expression level in response to reduction of Nkx2-1.
They also used experimental models lacking functional Nkx2-1 and showed similar effects.
The findings appeared in the journal Respiratory Research.