As interactions of cellular proteins increasingly take center stage in basic biomedical research, studies are revealing a complex molecular choreography with implications for human health and disease.
In a report currently appearing in the online issue of the journal Nature Cell Biology, scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center describe - for the first time - how some proteins interact to ensure that the cell does not continually divide when its DNA is damaged.
Although not yet clinically applicable, the study’s findings offer new knowledge on how cells rapidly degrade unnecessary and potentially harmful proteins for recycling. They also point to a possible target for drug development: a cellular enzyme family involved in preventing replication of damaged genomic material. "Inevitably, the molecular pathways controlling many cellular processes such as DNA repair must interact with those regulating cell division," said Dr. Yue Xiong, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UNC. "An alteration in this critical interaction may be the cause of human cancer, which is characterized by deregulated cell cycle and accumulation of gene mutations."
Leslie H. Lang | EurekAlert!
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