The name of a cancer-causing gene has been changed from "Pokemon" to Zbtb7 after Pokemon USA threatened legal action to keep scientists from referring to the gene by the game's name, according to an article in science journal Nature.From Nature:
In January's issue, geneticist Pier Paolo Pandolfi of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York describes the cancer-causing POK erythroid myeloid ontogenic gene, calling it Pokemon.
The gene in question is part of the POK gene family that encodes proteins that turn off other genes. POK proteins are critical in embryonic development, cellular differentiation and oncogenesis, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Aberrant transcriptional repression through chromatin remodelling and histone deacetylation has been postulated to represent a driving force underlying tumorigenesis because histone deacetylase inhibitors have been found to be effective in cancer treatment. However, the molecular mechanisms by which transcriptional derepression would be linked to tumour suppression are poorly understood. Here we identify the transcriptional repressor Pokemon (encoded by the Zbtb7 gene) as a critical factor in oncogenesis. Mouse embryonic fibroblasts lacking Zbtb7 are completely refractory to oncogene-mediated cellular transformation. Conversely, Pokemon overexpression leads to overt oncogenic transformation both in vitro and in vivo in transgenic mice. Pokemon can specifically repress the transcription of the tumour suppressor gene ARF through direct binding. We find that Pokemon is aberrantly overexpressed in human cancers and that its expression levels predict biological behaviour and clinical outcome. Pokemon's critical role in cellular transformation makes it an attractive target for therapeutic intervention.Technorati Tags: Pokemon, Cancer, Hilarious Journal Articles