Navigation Links
A new protein partnership that leads to pediatric tumor regression

Why are some pediatric cancers able to spontaneously regress? Prof. Michael Fainzilber and his team of the Weizmann Institute's Biological Chemistry Department seem to have unexpectedly found part of the answer. Further research towards a better understanding of the mechanism of action might hopefully lead, in the future, to the development of drugs that will be able to induce regression of certain tumors.

TrkA is a particular cell receptor well known for its "pro-life advocacies": When nerve growth factor proteins bind to TrkA receptors, it activates the receptors into promoting the growth and survival of neurons.

So when Fainzilber, together with Ph.D. student Liraz Harel, postdoctoral student Dr. Barbara Costa, technician Zehava Levy, and former Ph.D. student Dr. Marianna Tcherpakov, carried out screening tests to identify other molecules involved in this signaling cascade, it took them by surprise to learn that TrkA may not be who it seems. They found that if TrkA teams up with another molecule called CCM2 the newly-identified player in this signaling cascade they become "partners in crime," with TrkA turning into a cell killer!

However, though paradoxical, this atypical behavior may actually be rooting for life after all. This idea comes from findings concerning pediatric tumors of neural origin, specifically, medulloblastoma the most common malignant brain tumor and the second most common malignancy among children less than 20 years of age; and neuroblastoma the most common extracranial solid cancer in childhood. Neuroblastoma displays unusual behavior, being one of the few human malignancies known to demonstrate spontaneous regression in some cases, but nobody knows how or why. Studies have shown that the tumors with positive prognosis usually express TrkA, while aggressive forms of the tumor do not. However, how TrkA induces tumor regression is yet unknown, and the mechanism was an enigma.

What if CCM2 was the missing piece to the tumor regression puzzle? Together with a group of scientists in Germany who were conducting a large scale gene expression study in tumors from neuroblastoma patients, they checked the expression levels of CCM2 and TrkA from the patient samples collected. The results were clear-cut: TrkA and CCM2 were always expressed together in certain tumors those that showed the highest incidences of regression and patient survival!

They confirmed their results by blocking the expression of either TrkA or CCM2 in some cells, which resulted in cell survival. On the other hand, by introducing CCM2 to cells lacking it, cell death was induced if TrkA was also present, suggesting that this mechanism could lead to tumor regression.

This research, recently published in Neuron, is one of the first to elucidate this paradoxical "pro-cell death" behavior of TrkA, and the first to identify CCM2 as a crucial accessory in this particular pathway. They have even described in detail just how these two molecules interact.


Contact: Yivsam Azgad
Weizmann Institute of Science

Related biology news :

1. Protein chatter linked to cancer activation
2. Scientists link fragile X tremor/ataxia syndrome to binding protein in RNA
3. Researchers identify proteins involved in new neurodegenerative syndrome
4. Low levels of key protein may indicate pancreatic cancer risk
5. Structure of 450 million year old protein reveals evolutions steps
6. Scientists retrace evolution with first atomic structure of an ancient protein
7. Specific brain protein required for nerve cell connections to form and function
8. NIH awards researcher $1.5 million new innovator grant for fruit-fly studies of prion proteins
9. Interacting protein theory awaits test from new neutron analysis tools
10. Depression, aging, and proteins made by a virus may all play role in heart disease
11. Census of protein architectures offers new view of history of life
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/16/2015)... SAN JOSE, Calif. , Nov 16, 2015 ... leading developer of human interface solutions, today announced ... new Synaptics TouchView ™ touch controller and ... the architectural revolution of smartphones. These new TDDI ... and include TD4100 (HD resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... 2015  In this report, the biomarkers ... product, type, application, disease indication, and geography. ... are consumables, services, software. The type segments ... efficacy biomarkers, and validation biomarkers. The applications ... development, drug discovery and development, personalized medicine, ...
(Date:11/2/2015)... 2015  SRI International has been awarded a contract ... services to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) PREVENT Cancer ... expertise, modern testing and support facilities, and analytical instrumentation ... toxicology studies to evaluate potential cancer prevention drugs. ... Cancer Drug Development Program is an NCI-supported pipeline to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... MAGDEBURG, Germany , November 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... in Vienna, Austria to be held ... NeuroRehabilitation (ECNR) in Vienna, Austria ... a wholly owned subsidiary of Vycor Medical, Inc. ("Vycor") (OTCQB: ... Internet-delivered NovaVision Therapy Suite at the 3rd European Congress ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... MarkLogic, the Enterprise NoSQL database platform provider, creating a seamless approach to ... Content Intelligence capabilities provide a robust set of semantic tools which create ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... November 28, 2015 , ... • Jeon Jin Bio Corp, a ... rodent control solutions , Bird Free, an ... across all sensory modalities including visual, smell, taste and touch, enabling safe, effective avian ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... Program that includes over 2,000 technical presentations offered in symposia, oral sessions, ... and applied spectroscopy, covers a wide range of applications such as, but not ...
Breaking Biology Technology: