Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Surprising study reveals how cancer-causing protein activates

14.01.2005


Researchers at Brown Medical School and Rhode Island Hospital have shed new light on the activation of a protein key to the development of cancers, particularly breast and prostate cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States.



The team of cell biologists has discovered a new chemical modification that activates STAT3. This so-called signaling protein is important for embryonic growth and development, helping cells grow, duplicate and migrate. In adulthood, STAT3 presumably falls dormant, but its unexpected and continuous activation causes breast and prostate cells to develop and move through the body.

Eugene Chin, M.D., a Rhode Island Hospital researcher and assistant professor (research) of surgery at Brown Medical School, said experts suspect that environmental factors, such as a diet rich in animal fat and hormones, may activate STAT3.


How the protein is turned on inside cells has been the subject of fiercely competitive research during the last decade. One known trigger is phosphorylation, which modifies some of the tyro-sine and serine amino acids that make up the STAT3 protein. Chin and his team found a second trigger: acetylation, another chemical process that modifies amino acids, such as lysine. Chin said this finding might explain why drugs that only block STAT3 phosphorylation cannot completely stop cancer cells from growing and invading other parts of the body.

"Both tyrosine phosphorylation and lysine acetylation modifications are important events for STAT3 to stimulate cancer cell growth and metastasis," Chin said. "That’s why the finding is so exciting. Now that we know more about STAT3 activation, we can create better drugs."

Their findings are published in the current issue of Science.

Paul Yuan, a post-doctoral fellow in Chin’s Rhode Island Hospital lab and the lead author of the paper, painstakingly mutated 47 lysine amino acids and tested each one in cultured cells to see if it activated STAT3. Using this method, Yuan was able to isolate the culprit: Lys685, one of as many as 780 amino acids that are strung together to make the protein.

Yuan corroborated the finding by testing both a normal and mutated version of STAT3 in a mass spectrometer. The machine smashes the protein into amino acids then sequences these building blocks. The work took nearly two years to complete.

Chin said the research provides an important target for drugs in treating breast and prostate cancers that are common in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 217,440 Americans were diagnosed with breast cancer and 230,110 were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004. "Finding a drug to block both tyrosine phosphorylation and lysine acetylation of STAT3 protein should be a more effective cancer treatment," Chin said.

The research team also included Ying-jie Guan, a post-doctoral fellow in the lab, and Devasis Chatterjee, an assistant professor (research) of Medicine at Brown Medical School.

Wendy Lawton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.brown.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht MicroRNA helps cancer evade immune system
19.09.2017 | Salk Institute

nachricht Ruby: Jacobs University scientists are collaborating in the development of a new type of chocolate
18.09.2017 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices

19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A simple additive to improve film quality

19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>