Out-FOXOing High-Stage Neuroblastoma

Fluorescence microscopy of neuroblastoma cells.

In recent years, scientists have been hot on the trail of transcription factor FOXO3, tracing its involvement in various tumor-centric activities comprising the many trademarks of cancer, from drug resistance to metastasis to tumor angiogenesis.

FOXO3 is a member of the O sub-class of the forkhead box family of transcription factors. The forkhead box (FOX) family is characterized by a fork head DNA-binding domain (DBD), comprised of around 100 amino acids. They have also proven themselves to be a family of many hats, functioning in diverse roles ranging from metabolism, immunology, cell-cycle control, development, as well as cancer (1). The forkhead box O (FOXO) sub-class alone has demonstrated involvement in a variety of cellular outcomes, from drug resistance and longevity to apoptosis induction.

Due to its pro-apoptotic and anti-proliferative proclivity, FOXO3 has been previously identified as a tumor suppressor gene. However, more and more studies have begun to flip the narrative on FOXO3, portraying it more as a devoted henchman, due to its roles in drug and radiotherapy resistance, cell-cycle arrest and long-term maintenance of leukemia-initiating stem cells in a variety of cancer types, including breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, glioblastoma, and both acute and chronic myeloid leukemia.

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Stop Targeting Lasers on My Chromosomes!

The phases of the cell cycle, particularly that of mitosis, were taught in college as part of my studies in biology. The cell cycle is a fundamental process for all organisms and constantly happens within our bodies. While cells generally spend most of the time in interphase, many scientists focus on what happens as the cells prepare to divide from one cell into two. Mitosis, the part of the cell cycle that refers to cell division, is subject to extensive regulation to ensure all materials and genetic information are sound and ready to segregate correctly. If there is damage to the chromosomes, the cells will halt cell division. Continue reading “Stop Targeting Lasers on My Chromosomes!”