Chemists unlock secret to activating tumor suppressor gene

Researchers have discovered the way to activate a key anti-cancer signal that goes AWOL in several gynecologic and brain cancers.

Since the late 1990s, researchers have known that a gene called PTEN (short for phosphatase and tensin homolog on chromosome 10) encodes a signaling protein that suppresses tumor growth. What wasn't known, however, was what mechanism activated PTEN. The answer was found by a group of researchers led by University of Illinois at Chicago chemistry professor Wonhwa Cho. They report their findings in the June 9 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"The role of PTEN is to counterbalance the action of an enzyme that induces cell growth," said Cho. "Over-activation of the enzyme can lead to cancer. So if you lose a PTEN gene and its cellular activity, the cell goes out of control. It's like a car with an accelerator but without the brakes."

It was generally thought that PTEN was activated by binding to other proteins, giving it a signal to interact with the cell membrane. But Cho said that's not the case.

Cho's group found that PTEN itself can be activated by phosphorylation, or the chemical addition of a phosphate tag.

"We found that the phosphorylation of certain sites of the PTEN protein worked as a switch to completely change its electrostatic property," said Cho. "It switched from being neutral to positively charged, then recognized the opposite charge on the membrane to bind there." Once the bind took hold, the cancer suppression action went to work.

Cho's laboratory used a biophysical technique called surface plasmon resonance analysis and cellular microscopic analysis of green fluorescence protein-labeled PTEN to unlock the secret of its activation. The UIC chemist believes the mechanism described for PTEN is a relatively common way to regulate membrane binding and activation of many cellular proteins involved in cell signaling and membrane traffickin

Contact: Paul Francuch
University of Illinois at Chicago

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Chemists at four pharmaceutical companies named Heroes for treating childhood conditions
2. Chemists create unusual lariat RNA, a key intermediate in biological splicing
3. American Institute of Chemists names Ralph Hirschmann AIC Gold Medalist
4. Chemists explore the shape of the key that signals cell division in cancer cells
5. Nanoencapsulation: Chemists at TSRI discover a new and simple way of controlling reactions
6. Chemists characterize regulators of zinc intake and export in cells
7. Chemists spin materials to improve magnetic resonance data
8. Chemists describe "zipper teeth" of DNA molecules -- publish results in the journal Nature
9. Chemists report new approach to synthetic fragments of medically important Heparin
10. Chemists hold national meeting August 22-26
11. Chemists hold national meeting August 22-26 in New Orleans

Post Your Comments:

(Date:6/22/2016)... 2016   Acuant , the leading ... has partnered with RightCrowd ® to ... Management, Self-Service Kiosks and Continuous Workforce Assurance. ... functional enhancements to existing physical access control ... with an automated ID verification and authentication ...
(Date:6/21/2016)... British Columbia , June 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... appointed to the new role of principal product ... been named the director of customer development. Both ... NuData,s chief technical officer. The moves reflect NuData,s ... teams in response to high customer demand and ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... 2016 The global ... reach USD 1.83 billion by 2024, according to ... Technological proliferation and increasing demand in commercial buildings, ... drive the market growth.      (Logo: ... development of advanced multimodal techniques for biometric authentication ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016  Alex,s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), ... it will open a state-of-the-art bioinformatics lab, using ,big ... This announcement comes as Liz Scott , co-executive ... Cancer Moonshot Summit in Washington, D.C. ... a participant and advocate of pediatric cancer research and ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016  Global demand for enzymes ... through 2020 to $7.2 billion.  This market includes ... cleaning products, biofuel production, animal feed, and other ... and biocatalysts). Food and beverages will remain the ... increasing consumption of products containing enzymes in developing ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ON , June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. ... has been advised by its major shareholders, Clean Technology ... United States based venture capital ... shares of Biorem (on a fully diluted, as converted ... the disposition of their entire equity holdings in Biorem ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016  Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... healthier lives through the development of innovative products and ... the United States denied its petition ... claims of Sequenom,s U.S. Patent No. 6,258,540 (",540 Patent") ... established by the Supreme Court,s Mayo Collaborative Services v. ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: