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

sult in Angelman's syndrome, a developmental condition characterized by severe mental retardation in children because the brain is unable to "learn" by adapting its nerve connections to outside stimuli. Other mutations that cause a duplication of the E6AP gene and increased activity are thought to cause some forms of inherited Autism Spectrum Disorder. In other tissues, the genetic program of the Human Papillomavirus produces an E6 viral protein following infection that hijacks the E6AP enzyme to target a different set of cells, not only ensuring the ability of the virus to replicate but causing uncontrolled growth resulting in benign skin tags, warts, or cervical cancer, depending on the site of infection. The Hepatitis C virus exploits a similar strategy to ensure its replication in the liver by expressing a different protein that redirects the function of E6AP, resulting in cirrhosis and liver cancer in the chronically infected.

The LSUHSC investigators used the ability of E6AP to form chains of ubiquitin as a window into the molecular function of the enzyme. The studies provide a description of the mechanism for the enzyme at the molecular level which provides potential strategies for designing drugs to block E6AP function in the case of the Human Papillomavirus and Hepatitis C virus. Because E6AP is similar to a larger family of related master regulators that control other cell functions, knowledge about it may also apply to future drug design for enzymes involved in many other diseases.

"The current work by Ronchi and Klein marks a major advance in our understanding of this important class of cell regulators and redefines more than 15 years of work in the field by other investigators," notes Dr. Haas.


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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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