Argonaute keeps the Myc oncogene in check

Dr Olga Zaytseva and Associate Professor Leonie Quinn

A recent study from Associate Professor Leonie Quinn’s group at the John Curtin School of Medical Research was selected as the “Research Highlight" for the June issue of the prestigious Company of Biologists Journal Development.

The work led by Dr Olga Zaytseva revealed a novel mechanism for controlling the Myc oncogene; a potent driver of the proliferative cell growth that underlies tumour initiation and progression.

The work identified previously unknown functions for the Argonaute RNA binding protein (AGO1) as an inhibitor of Myc transcription, thus, AGO1 functions as a novel tumour suppressor to prevent cell and tissue overgrowth.

As Myc is invariably increased in cancer, mechanisms keeping Myc in check are significant for understanding cancer biology and developing new therapeutics.

Dr Zaytseva and A/Prof Quinn’s profile in the field was further highlighted in the Journal’s “People Behind the Papers” feature.

“Given the crucial roles Myc plays in cancer, it's exciting that we discovered a mechanism which could contribute to cancer progression” said first author Dr Olga Zaytseva.

“In tumour cells Myc genes are expressed at high levels” explains Associate Professor Quinn, thus, “harnessing the repressive roles of AGO1 to inhibit cancer growth is an exciting prospect.”

The full Article can be found here: Zaytseva et al. Development 2020

This work was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council.