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Chromosomal breakage caused by virus can lead to cancer: Study reveals

EBV is a common virus that spreads through saliva and affects over 90% of the global population during childhood.

When people kiss, share drinks, or use the same eating utensils, the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) primarily transmits through saliva. It should therefore come as no surprise that EBV is one of the most widespread viruses, affecting more than 90% of the population of world, primarily during childhood. The findings of the study were published in the journal Nature.

EBV is a cause of infectious mononucleosis and other infections, however frequently there are no symptoms. Although the majority of infections are small and transient, the virus is still present and can occasionally go dormant or reactivate. Long-lasting latent infections are associated with a number of cancers as well as several chronic inflammatory disorders.

Researchers at University of California San Diego, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and Ludwig Cancer Research at UC San Diego, describe for the first time how the virus exploits genomic weaknesses to cause cancer while reducing the body's ability to suppress it.

These findings show "how a virus can induce cleavage of human chromosome 11, initiating a cascade of genomic instability that can potentially activate a leukemia-causing oncogene and inactivate a major tumor suppressor," said senior study author Don Cleveland, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Neurosciences and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

EBV is a cause of infectious mononucleosis and other infections, however frequently there are no symptoms. Although the majority of infections are small and transient, the virus is still present and can occasionally go dormant or reactivate. Long-lasting latent infections are associated with a number of cancers as well as several chronic inflammatory disorders.

Researchers at University of California San Diego, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and Ludwig Cancer Research at UC San Diego, describe for the first time how the virus exploits genomic weaknesses to cause cancer while reducing the body's ability to suppress it.

These findings show "how a virus can induce cleavage of human chromosome 11, initiating a cascade of genomic instability that can potentially activate a leukemia-causing oncogene and inactivate a major tumor suppressor," said senior study author Don Cleveland, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Neurosciences and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Other prior research has shown that EBNA1 inhibits p53, a gene that plays a key role in controlling cell division and cell death. It also suppresses tumor formation when normal. Mutations of p53, on the other hand, are linked to cancer cell growth.

When the scientists examined whole-genome sequencing data for 2,439 cancers across 38 tumor types from the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes project, they found that cancer tumors with detectable EBV revealed higher levels of chromosome 11 abnormalities, including 100% of the head and neck cancer cases.

"For a ubiquitous virus that is harmless for the majority of the human population, identifying at-risk individuals susceptible to the development of latent infection-associated diseases is still an ongoing effort," said the study's first author Julia Li, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Cleveland's lab.


https://www.hindustantimes.com/lifestyle/health/chromosomal-breakage-caused-by-virus-can-lead-to-cancer-study-reveals-101681644882645.html

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