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U of T researchers map role of Epstein-Barr virus in cancer

een shown to work through this p53 protein, but up until now, no one's ever found any regulation of p53 that's associated with the Epstein-Barr virus. That was surprising because all other viruses that stimulate cell proliferation do it through p53. The question was why this one didn't. What our research shows is that EBNA1 does actually impact on the p53 protein; it just does it in a different way than other viruses do."

Frappier, a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Virology, also conducted this research with Professor Aled Edwards, also of medical genetics and microbiology at U of T, and Professor Cheryl Arrowsmith, of medical biophysics at U of T and the Ontario Cancer Institute. Both Edwards and Arrowsmith are also from U of T's Banting and Best Department of Medical Research and the Structural Genomics Consortium.

The researchers tested the effects of EBNA1 on human cells grown in culture. Frappier says the paper provides a structural explanation of this protein complex so scientists can see in molecular detail how the EBNA1 protein binds to USP7 and the resulting impact on cell growth. Once that level of detail is achieved, she says scientists can then design specific mutations in these proteins to see what happens to cells when the proteins don't interact with one another. A better understanding of these molecular mechanisms will hopefully lead scientists and researchers to developing better methods of combating viruses like these which cause disease, says Frappier.


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Source:University of Toronto


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