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However, as we learned lately, there is not a single type of cancer but various subtypes.Oncogenes do not act in isolation, but they are part of a network and interact with other heritable factors.Not only protein-coding sequences are relevant in this respect.
Besides hyperactive oncogenes, defects in tumour suppressor genes can also contribute to carcinogenesis.
It is the dynamic interaction between numbers of genetic elements that causes transformation of healthy cells.
The molecular machineries in our cells are highly interconnected, and they act in a dynamic manner.
The activity of enzymes can be switch between the on and the off state within seconds by phosphorylation or de-phosphorylation.
20,000 protein-coding genes is not necessarily sufficient to determine a cell as healthy or malignant.
We have to bear in mind that all of the 37 trillion cells of our body share the same genome.Mutations are not restricted to a single gene within an individual cell type.Many positions in the genome can be affected by mutations with severe consequences for the equilibrium state of entire cell populations.The ability of a cell to sense growth factor signals depends also on the cellular microenvironment.Cells in the proximity can take up growth hormones thereby preventing the exposure of other cells to those soluble factors. Recent findings in the field of cancer biology indicate that carcinogenesis is a sophisticated process, which cannot be addressed appropriately by conventional methods. These new approaches facilitated the development of new sequencing methods as well as the establishment of computational routines for data analysis.In sum, these processes can take up to several hours.Phosphorylation of enzymes and transcription factors in response to a growth factor stimulus occurs rapidly but the subsequent initiation of cell growth can be a slow process since it involves the production of many different proteins.Only if the correct chemical group is attached to the right histone residue, DNA can be unwound and be transcribed to execute the genetic program required to maintain cell type-specific functions.But changing the acetylation pattern of histones, subsequently unwinding the DNA, and transcribing and translating it into proteins needs time.