Date of Thesis Acceptance
Major Department or Program
Daniel Vernon, Ph.D
Cancerous cells may contain a vast array of dysregulated or altered genes that contribute to tumorigenesis, but there are often a few prominent oncogenic drivers that are very commonly found in a variety of cancers. The MYC gene family, composed of c-MYC, n-MYC, and l-MYC, is a group of basic helix-loop-helix leucine-zipper (bHLHZ) transcription factors that regulate expression of 15% of the human genome. MYC oncogenes drive the transcription of a variety of genes involved in the cell cycle, apoptosis, and cell growth. When constitutively expressed, they have been implicated in the genesis and progression of a variety of cancer types by contributing to unchecked cell proliferation. However, little research has been done on systemic, pan-cancer patterns and effects that MYC oncogenes may have on tumorigenesis. Using data from the Cancer Genome Atlas, I analyzed upregulated gene sets across 33 different tumor types associated with increased activity of c-MYC or its paralog n-MYC, in order to find pan-cancer patterns of gene expression and better understand the mechanisms of MYC-driven cancer. I confirmed the presence of a “canonical” functional profile previously documented in the literature, consisting of upregulated biological processes such as DNA replication and repair, RNA transcription, RNA processing, chromatin regulation, and protein translation. However, I also found a novel “non-canonical” functional profile correlated with a diverse set of cell signaling pathways, immune system function, and the extracellular matrix, which may be involved in the maintenance of a tumor microenvironment. These findings may be important for identifying potential therapeutic drug targets, as well as further elucidating the causes and mechanisms of MYC-driven cancer.
Cancer cells‚ Carcinogens‚ Human genome‚ Myc oncogenes‚ Medical genetics‚ Gene expression‚ Cell proliferation‚ Tumors‚ Genes‚ Science‚ Whitman College 2018 -- Dissertation collection -- Biology Department
Public Accessible Thesis
In Copyright. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).