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 Closing in on advanced prostate cancer
13.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

nachricht Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin
13.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>