Identification of tumour suppressor genes and oncogenes by Malvika Sudhakar
One of the major tasks in cancer research is to identify genes that help in progression of cancer by giving the cell the ability to divide indefinitely. These genes are called driver genes. These driver genes can further be classified into tumour suppressor genes and oncogenes based on function. Tumour suppressor genes (TSG) are those genes that have lost their function of suppressing uncontrolled cell division. Proto-oncogenes turn into oncogenes (OG) when they are either expressed in abnormal levels or function abnormally to promote cell division.
Even though a large number of driver genes have been identified, many more are yet to be identified. Most approaches of cancer gene identification are based on identifying highly mutated genes to a background mutation frequency. These genes have higher mutation frequency across samples. The cancer genome landscape is made up of such high frequency mutated driver genes and also other driver genes that are mutated at a lower frequency rate across samples. The aim of recent research is to identify driver genes that are seen at a lower frequency among cancer populations or those that depend on other driver genes to have a combinatorial effect.
Since mutation patterns differ between TSG and OG and regulation of genes can occur epigentically and at other –omic levels, integrated approach may throw more light. The objective is to integrate multiple omic data to get better classification power and identify low potency driver genes by classifying them into TSG and OG.