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Protein balance key in preventing cancer
Date:2/27/2013

proteins' individual functions, the researchers looked at the levels of different proteins involved in stem cell production when either Rpl22 or Rpl22-like1 was absent. Without Rpl22-like1, cells had lower levels of a protein known as Smad1a critical driver of stem cell development. And when Rpl22 disappeared, levels of Smad1 increased dramatically.

Both proteins can bind directly to the cellular RNA from which Smad1 is produced, suggesting that they maintain balance in stem cell production via their antagonistic effects on Smad1 expression, explains Wiest.

"I like to think of Rpl22 as a brake, and Rpl22-like1 as a gas pedal in order to drive stem cell production, both have to be employed properly. If one or the other is too high, this upsets the balance of forces that regulate stem cell production, with potentially deadly effects," says Wiest.

Specifically, too much Rpl22 (the "brake"), and stem cell production shuts off, decreasing the number of blood cells and leading to problems such as anemia. Too much Rpl22-like1 (the "gas pedal"), on the other hand, can create an over-production of stem cells, leading to leukemia.

Previous research has found that Rpl22-like1 is often elevated in cancer, including 80% of cases of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Conversely, researchers have found that in other cancers, the gene that encodes Rpl22 is deleted. "Either one of these events is sufficient to alter the balance in stem cell production in a way that pushes towards cancer," says Wiest.


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Contact: Diana Quattrone
Diana.Quattrone@fccc.edu
215-728-7784
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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