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Scientists discover how cancer may take hold
Date:9/24/2007

hich wipes T-cells out.

The scientists think that this cycle may be also be involved in cells involved in certain autoimmune diseases. In these cases the cells may not be able to take up or convert enough tryptophan. Without enough of the amino acid or the IDO enzyme to convert tryptophan, the cells cannot produce enough kynurenine. Lacking kynurenine, the bodys own T-cells cannot be kept in check, so they rebel and attack the body.

The FRET system detects metabolites such as sugars and amino acids using a biosensor tag. A protein is genetically fused to tags at opposite ends of a molecule. The tags are made from different colors of the jellyfish green fluorescent protein (GFP). When a metabolite binds to the biosensor, it changes the shape of the sensors backbone, altering the position of the fluorescent tags. When a specific wavelength of light activates one tag, it fluoresces. When the metabolite causes the tags to move close together, the other tag will also fluoresceresonating like a tuning fork. This system allows the scientists to visually track the location and concentration of certain biochemicals.

Our FRET technology with the novel tryptophan nanosensor has an added bonus, said Thijs. It can be used to identify new drugs that could reduce the ability of cancer cells to uptake tryptophan or their ability to degrade it. We believe that this technology could be a huge boost to cancer treatment.


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Contact: Wolf Frommer
wfrommer@stanford.edu
650-325-1521 x208
Carnegie Institution
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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