Tumor Suppressor Gene Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Tumor Suppressor Gene?
A tumor suppressor gene (also known as an anti-oncogene) is a gene that works to inhibit the development and growth of tumors. These genes are important for controlling cell growth and division, as they act to ensure that cells do not divide too rapidly or become cancerous. Mutations in these genes can lead to an increased risk of developing cancer. The most well-known tumor suppressor gene is the p53 gene, which plays a major role in preventing tumor formation. It does this by inducing cell cycle arrest, triggering apoptosis (programmed cell death), or stimulating DNA repair mechanisms when there is damage to the genetic material. Mutations in this gene are found in many types of cancers including breast, colorectal, lung, ovarian and pancreatic cancers. Other important tumor suppressor genes include APC, RB1 and BRCA1/2. The APC gene helps regulate the activity of beta-catenin which plays an important role in cell proliferation and survival; mutations in this gene are associated with colorectal cancer. The RB1 gene helps control the progression through the cell cycle; it also plays a role in maintaining genomic stability; mutations are associated with retinoblastoma (a type of eye cancer). And finally BRCA1/2 helps repair damaged DNA; mutations can increase the risk for breast and ovarian cancer significantly among other types of cancers like prostate cancer. In summary, tumor suppressor genes help maintain cellular homeostasis by regulating cell growth and division while also helping to prevent mutation accumulation that may lead to malignant transformation and thus promote carcinogenesis. Mutation or loss of function within these genes can result in uncontrolled cellular proliferation leading to tumors or even cancer.