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LSUHSC research reveals Rx target for HPV, Hep C and related cancers
Date:4/10/2013

New Orleans, LA New discoveries by a team of scientists at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans for the first time reveal the inner workings of a master regulator that controls functions as diverse as the ability of nerve cells to "rewire" themselves in response to external stimuli and the mechanism by which certain viruses hijack normal cellular processes to facilitate their replication that can ultimately lead to cancer. The research will be published in the April 12, 2013 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

The complex genetic programs controlling the function of cells and the organs, nerves, and tissues that they form are expressed through the concerted contributions of some 30,000 unique proteins that constitute the human genome. Coordination of these proteins is controlled by a small set of master regulators that sense the environment of the cell and alter subtle features of the genetic programs to maintain metabolic balance, called cellular homeostasis. More radical alterations in the genetic programs due to gene mutation or in response to viral or bacterial infection frequently lead to conditions that can result in cancer or developmental defects.

Lead investigator Dr. Virginia Ronchi, a postdoctoral fellow, and research associate Jennifer Klein, working in the laboratory of Dr. Arthur Haas, Professor and Head of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, focused on the E6AP enzyme. This enzyme regulates the functions of several dozen different proteins involved in key homoeostatic processes. The E6AP protein belongs to a class of enzymes known as ubiquitin ligases. E6AP controls its target protein functions by attaching a smaller protein called ubiquitin to them that serves as a molecular flag to signal removal of the target by a large cellular nanomachine called the 26S proteasome.

Inherited mutations in the E6AP gene that block its activity re
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Contact: Leslie Capo
lcapo@lsuhsc.edu
504-568-4806
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
Source:Eurekalert

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