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The cancer-chromatin connection

Alan P. Wolffe
From: Science & Medicine: Volume 6 Number 4: Page 28 (August 1999)

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Abstract: A typical human cell expresses only one tenth of the 100,000 genes coiled up within the chromosomes. Surprisingly, it is essential to positively elect not only the right genes to turn on, but also those that need to be inactivated. Mistakes have severe consequences. If the inappropriate genes are turned off, a normal cell can be converted into a cancer cell. Recent experiments establish that gene inactivation depends upon the recruitment of enzymes that control the dcoiling of DNA within the chromosome. Mistargeting of these enzymes leads to tumorigenesis, but inhibition of their activity presents a novel approach to therapy

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