This release is available in Spanish.
KRas is one of the usual suspects in cancer. It is a protein that is mutated in 30% of human tumors and has been implicated in the regulation of many cell signalling pathways. For this reason, it is one of the main focuses of attention of international basic research and it is difficult to publish new information relating to its molecular biology. Researchers from the Institut d'Investigacions Biomdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS) and the University of Barcelona (UB) have discovered a new breakdown pathway for this protein. The results, which could mean a new form of signalling involving KRas, were published in the latest edition of the Journal of Cell Biology (184(6):863-79), where they merited an appearance on the front page of the journal and an editorial comment. This study is part of the doctoral thesis of Dr. Albert Lu and includes the participation of Dr. Oriol Bachs, Dr. Carles Enrich, Dr. Neus Agell and Dr. Francesc Tebar, researchers from IDIBAPS and the Department of Cell Biology, Immunology and Neuroscience of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Barcelona. Researchers from the University of Kyoto also took part in the study.
The article describes how the KRas protein is actively transported from the cell membrane, where most of its known activity takes place, to the lysosomes. The lysosomes are organelles responsible for breaking down proteins; this breakdown pathway was unknown in the case of KRas. Thanks to videomicroscopy techniques using a confocal microscope and the fluorescence, resonance energy transfer (FRET)
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IDIBAPS - Institut d'Investigacions Biomdiques August Pi i Sunyer