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Curse of the devil: molecular insights into the emergence of transmissible cancers in the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii)

Citation

Patchett, AL and Flies, AS and Lyons, AB and Woods, GM, Curse of the devil: molecular insights into the emergence of transmissible cancers in the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences pp. 1-19. ISSN 1420-682X (2020) [Refereed Article]


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DOI: doi:10.1007/s00018-019-03435-4

Abstract

The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is the only mammalian species known to be affected by multiple transmissible cancers. Devil facial tumours 1 and 2 (DFT1 and DFT2) are independent neoplastic cell lineages that produce large, disfiguring cancers known as devil facial tumour disease (DFTD). The long-term persistence of wild Tasmanian devils is threatened due to the ability of DFTD cells to propagate as contagious allografts and the high mortality rate of DFTD. Recent studies have demonstrated that both DFT1 and DFT2 cancers originated from founder cells of the Schwann cell lineage, an uncommon origin of malignant cancer in humans. This unprecedented finding has revealed a potential predisposition of Tasmanian devils to transmissible cancers of the Schwann cell lineage. In this review, we compare the molecular nature of human Schwann cells and nerve sheath tumours with DFT1 and DFT2 to gain insights into the emergence of transmissible cancers in the Tasmanian devil. We discuss a potential mechanism, whereby Schwann cell plasticity and frequent wounding in Tasmanian devils combine with an inherent cancer predisposition and low genetic diversity to give rise to transmissible Schwann cell cancers in devils on rare occasions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Tasmanian devil, devil facial tumour disease, transmissible cancer, schwann cell, nerve sheath tumour, tumour microenvironment
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal Cell and Molecular Biology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
UTAS Author:Patchett, AL (Dr Amanda Patchett)
UTAS Author:Flies, AS (Dr Andy Flies)
UTAS Author:Lyons, AB (Associate Professor Bruce Lyons)
UTAS Author:Woods, GM (Professor Gregory Woods)
ID Code:136582
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2020-01-09
Last Modified:2020-03-31
Downloads:0

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