Why It Matters: Gene Expression

Why explain the regulation of gene expression?

Cancer is one of the top ten causes of death in the United States. It is not a single disease but includes many different diseases. In cancer cells, mutations modify cell-cycle control, and cells don’t stop growing as they normally would. Mutations can also alter the growth rate or the progression of the cell through the cell cycle.

Thus, cancer can be described as a disease of altered gene expression. Changes at every level of eukaryotic gene expression can be detected in some form of cancer at some point in time. In order to understand how changes to gene expression can cause cancer, it is critical to understand how each stage of gene regulation works in normal cells. By understanding the mechanisms of control in normal, non-diseased cells, it will be easier for scientists to understand what goes wrong in disease states including complex ones like cancer.