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X-ray protein probe leads to potential anticancer tactic
Date:9/12/2011

Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have identified a new type of potential anticancer drug. The compound, named FOBISIN, targets 14-3-3 proteins, important for the runaway growth of cancer cells.

The researchers were using X-rays to see how FOBISIN fits into the clamp-shaped 14-3-3 protein structure. Unexpectedly, the X-rays induced the compound to be permanently bonded to the protein. The finding suggests that compounds like FOBISIN can be used in combination with radiation to trigger potent anticancer activity.

The results were published online Sept. 9 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Senior author Haian Fu, PhD, has been studying 14-3-3 proteins for two decades. He is professor of pharmacology and of hematology and oncology at Emory University School of Medicine, and the director of the Emory Chemical Biology Discovery Center.

"Targeting 14-3-3 proteins could be especially valuable because they can impact multiple pathways critical for cancer cell growth," he says. "14-3-3 proteins have been shown to be dysregulated in a number of cancer types, including lung cancer and breast cancer."

14-3-3 proteins act as adaptors that clamp onto other proteins. Fu and co-workers Jing Zhao, PhD,postdoctoral fellow, and Yuhong Du, PhD, assistant professor and associate director of the Discovery Center, sorted through thousands of chemicals to find one (FOBISIN: Fourteen-three-three Binding Small molecule Inhibitor) that prevents 14-3-3 from interacting with its partners.

14-3-3 proteins are found in mammals, plants and fungi. In humans, they come in seven varieties, and FOBISIN appears to inhibit interactions by all seven. A 14-3-3 proteins' ability to clamp depends on whether the target protein is phosphorylated, a chemical modification that regulates protein function. FOBISIN's inhibitory power also requires the presence of phosphorylation in the molecule.


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Contact: Holly Korschun
hkorsch@emory.edu
404-727-3990
Emory University
Source:Eurekalert

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