Navigation Links
Johns Hopkins scientists pull protein's tail to curtail cancer
Date:12/30/2008

When researchers look inside human cancer cells for the whereabouts of an important tumor-suppressor, they often catch the protein playing hooky, lolling around in cellular broth instead of muscling its way out to the cells' membranes and foiling cancer growth.

This phenomenon of delinquency puzzled scientists for a long time until a cell biologist in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine felt compelled to genetically grab the protein by the tail and then watched as it got back to work at tamping down disease.

"It was curious that when we removed its tail, the protein suddenly was unhindered and moved out to the membrane and became active," says Meghdad Rahdar, a graduate student in pharmacology.

The discovery, published Dec. 15 online at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, represents a potential new approach to cancer therapy, according to Peter Devreotes, Ph.D., professor and director of cell biology at Johns Hopkins.

"A long-term goal is to find a drug that does the equivalent of our bit of genetic engineering," he says.

The flexible tail contains a cluster of four amino acids the building blocks of proteins that regulate this tumor suppressor known as PTEN. When chemically modified, these amino acids act to "glue" the tail back to the body of PTEN and prevent the attachment of PTEN to the membrane. By genetically removing PTEN's tail, or manipulating the cluster of four amino acids so that they cannot be modified, the researchers persuaded PTEN to move to the cell membrane where it goes about its tumor-suppressing business of degrading a molecular signal called PIP3 that causes errant cell growth.

"As far as I know, I haven't seen anyone activate a tumor suppressor, but we seem to have done it genetically," Rahdar says.

While genetically engineering cancer cells in the human body is neither practical nor safe, manipulating such unbinding of PTEN with drugs is a viable alternative to guard against cell overgrowth, the hallmark of cancer, the Hopkins scientists say.

In many tumors, PTEN is simply not present. In others, it's there, but a key enzyme that produces PIP3 is over-activated. The Hopkins team already has shown the first evidence that adding the modified PTEN to cells that lack PTEN not only restores normal enzyme levels but ramps up PTEN activity and quells the cell growth signal.


'/>"/>

Contact: Maryalice Yakutchik
myakutc1@jhmi.edu
443-287-2251
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Johns Hopkins researchers detect sweet cacophony while listening to cellular cross-talk
2. Johnson & Johnson honors 2008 recipients of the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research
3. Johns Hopkins scientists discover what drives the development of a fatal form of malaria
4. Grant to fund answers about St. Johns River
5. Hopkins researchers piece together gene network linked to schizophrenia
6. Worth a thousand words: Hopkins researchers paint picture of cancer-promoting culprit
7. Vaginal reconstruction not needed for most inter-sex females, Hopkins study shows
8. Trees wont stop tsunamis, scientists warn
9. UCSB scientists show how certain vegetables combat cancer
10. Hebrew University scientists reveal mechanism that triggers differentiation of embryo cells
11. Haag honored with Presidential Early Career Scientists Award
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/18/2017)... 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging ... server, the M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A ... Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan ... at the Las Vegas Convention Center April ... Click here for ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... According to a new market research report "Consumer IAM Market by ... Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to ... USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 Billion by 2022, at ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 No two people are ... the New York University Tandon School of Engineering ... found that partial similarities between prints are common ... mobile phones and other electronic devices can be ... vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... Ovation Fertility supports the American ... bringing new hope for prospective parents who are challenged with costs of treatment. ... World Health Organization’s designation in hopes of changing the way health insurers, governments ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... RURO, Inc., a ... version 6.5, a content-packed update to the Limfinity® framework. , LimitLIS® and other ... more diverse base of customers among labs and other businesses. Limfinity® 6.5 adds ...
(Date:6/20/2017)... ... 20, 2017 , ... HorizonScan is providing food and ingredient ... likely threat to their products at the annual IFT conference in Las Vegas, ... expo attracts over 20,000 attendees representing food science professionals from over 90 countries ...
(Date:6/20/2017)... ... June 20, 2017 , ... GigaGen Inc ., ... immune repertoires, announces launch of its new Surge(TM) Discovery service at ... of GigaGen, will present on Surge at the conference. , Surge is the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: