Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protein identified as enemy of vital tumor suppressor PTEN

04.05.2011
UT MD Anderson-led team finds evidence that WWP2 subverts a brake on cell growth

A protein known as WWP2 appears to play a key role in tumor survival, a research team headed by a scientist at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reports in an advance online publication of Nature Cell Biology.

Their research suggests that the little-studied protein binds to the tumor-suppressing protein PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10), marking it for destruction by proteasomes, which degrade proteins and recycle their components.

PTEN plays a role regulating the cellular reproduction cycle and prevents rapid cell growth, a hallmark of malignant cells. Its gene is mutated or deleted in many types of cancer, the researchers noted.

The WWP2 (atrophin-1 interacting protein 2) protein was discovered in the laboratory of Junjie Chen, Ph.D., professor and chair in MD Anderson's Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology and senior author of the paper.

"We were trying to find regulators of PTEN when we isolated the protein WWP2 as a putative PTEN-associated protein," Chen said. He noted that WWP2 caught the researchers' attention because it is similar to the NEDD4-1 protein, which has been proposed as a regulator of PTEN function.

First suspect doesn't affect PTEN

WWP2 is an E3 ubiquitin ligase in the NEDD4-like protein family. Ubiquitins attach to other proteins, labeling them for degradation by proteasomes. NEDD4-like proteins play important roles regulating gene transcription, embryonic stem cells, cellular transport and activation of T cells.

"But when NEDD4-1 is deleted in mice, researchers have not seen a clear change in PTEN protein level," Chen noted. "These findings suggest that there may be other PTEN regulators.

"Because WWP2 is part of the NEDD4-like family, we decided to take a look at it to see if it's the real regulator of PTEN," Chen continued. "When you knock down WWP2, you see an increase in PTEN level, whereas with WWP2 overexpression you can see a decrease in PTEN. This finding indicates that WWP2 may be involved in PTEN's regulation."

Overall, the study results suggest that WWP2 can regulate PTEN stability, Chen said.

Possibly a cancer-driving gene

The team uncovered evidence that WWP2 is a potential oncogene - a driver in tumor formation and growth. In one experiment, mice with normal WWP2 developed prostate cancer tumors after nine weeks that were more than three times the size of tumors in mice with WWP2 silenced.

Chen noted that more research is needed to determine whether WWP2 is functionally important in tumors or in tumor formation. "We need to look at real tumor samples to determine whether tumors with reduced PTEN expression could result from the overexpression of WWP2."

He added that some early studies suggest that WWP2 may operate in tumors, but a correlation between WWP2 overexpression and PTEN downregulation in tumors has not been established.

This work was supported in part by a grant from the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, India, a U.S. Department of Defense Era of Hope Research Scholar Award, an NIH Specialized Program of Research Excellence award to Mayo Clinic, and a National Cancer Institute grant to MD Anderson. Also, fellowship support came from the Department of Biotechnology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and University Grants Commission, India, and support from the Institute of Life Sciences, Hyderabad, India.

Co-authors with Chen are first author Subbareddy Maddika, Ph.D, Sridhar Kavela, Neelam Rani, and Vivek Reddy Palicharla, all of the Laboratory of Cell Death and Cell Survival, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics in Nampally, Hyderabad, India; Jenny Pokorny and Jann Sarkaria, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

About MD Anderson

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. MD Anderson is one of only 40 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute. For seven of the past nine years, MD Anderson has ranked No. 1 in cancer care in "America's Best Hospitals," a survey published annually in U.S. News & World Report.

Scott Merville | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mdanderson.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bare bones: Making bones transparent
27.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>