Proto-Oncogenes in Cell Development Chairman: T. Hunter 1990 The role of certain genes in the uncontrolled cellular growth that constitutes cancer has been studied intensively for several years. These oncogenes are often viral genes that have been integrated into the genome of the cell. It is now known that these viral genes are mutated versions of normal cellular genes involved in the control of growth and development. The mutant genes fail to respond to regulatory signals in the cell, resulting in unrestrained proliferation. In this book the role of these cellular or proto-oncogenes in normal cell growth is investigated. Several of the proto-oncogenes encode growth factors or their receptors. The latter usually possess tyrosine kinase activity, which phosphorylates specific cytoplasmic proteins thereby initiating the transmission of the signal from the cell membrane to the nucleus. The mechanisms by which this is achieved, and particularly the regulatory aspects, are covered in this book. There are also reports of how phosphorylation of other amino acid residues is used to regulate this transfer of information.
The external stimulus received by the cell results in altered gene expression in the nucleus. The role of nuclear proteins in controlling gene activity is described. Many of the proto-oncogenes are now being found to affect cellular differentiation; the book includes reports on their effects in several specialized tissue types. Finally, the role of proto-oncogenes in the development of the organism as a whole is discussed. These studies are more preliminary but provide an exciting pointer to the direction of future research. Related Ciba Foundation Symposia: No 116 Growth factors in biology and medicine Chairman: Sir Michael Stoker 1985 ISBN 0 471 91085 6 No 142 Genetic analysis of tumour suppression Chairman: E. G. Stanbridge 1989 ISBN 0 471 92299 4 No 144 Cellular basis of morphogenesis Chairman: L. Wolpert 1989 ISBN 0 471 92306 0
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd