The characterization protein and early diagnosis of cervical cancer

All women are at risk of cervical cancer. It has become a leading cause of death of women. Although precancerous treatment can markedly lower mortality rates, they are still high worldwide due to limited access to cervical cancer screening. Here we demonstrate specific protein expression variations related to NFX1 over-expression, a gene found to be closely associated with cervical cancer.

During a transcription process, various types of transcription factors affect the ultimate gene expression. In general, they can be classified into two distinct groups: activators, which increment the transcription process, or repressors, which restrain transcription.

In MHC Class II gene transcription specifically, transcriptional factors binding to X and Y boxes in proximal promoter of the gene predominantly determine the gene’s expression. The over-expression of NFX1-123 gene, which codes for a repressor protein binding to the X box, was found to be related with a higher risk of HPV infection.

However, particular pathways or mechanisms involved in this process remain unclear.

Here our team finds a list of proteins that are highly likely to be associated with an over-expression of NFX1-123.

Hela cells were either injected with empty vectors, or plasmids containing NFX1 and GFP genes. After they fully expressed inserted genes, we ran Western Blot, IP MS, and FASP to determine and confirm the differential proteins.

After careful analysis, the statistical outcomes of IP and FASP Mass Spectrum combined,  indicated significant changes in the expression of 280 proteins caused by NFX1 overexpression. Our findings can serve as a convenient bio marker to identify people carrying over-expressed NFX1, signal high risk of cervical cancer, and prevent cervical cancer in early stages.

We found in controlled in vitro assays that an over expression of NFX1-123 results in different concentration of certain proteins compared to normal. Most importantly, our results are highly convincing because we utilized three distinct methods to confirm and filter the results, ensuring a strong relativity of NFX1-123 gene expression and the proteins found.

Our results indicate potential proteins engaged in HPV infection, providing a new method to diagnose people with high risk of HPV virus even before they are actually infected. Since cervical cancer can only be cured in early stages, this evaluation by protein concentration may serve as important signs that help us to prevent and combat cervical cancer well before it gets uncontrollable. We also anticipate our assay to be starting point for further research on the mechanisms of HPV virus. For example, a specific protein associated with NFX1 gene could be tested to examine the role of that protein in HPV infection.

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