Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Keeping cancer in check

06.05.2005


Penn researchers demonstrate that a metabolic enzyme works through the tumor-suppressor protein p53 to control cellular replication

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have identified in normal cells that a common metabolic enzyme, which acts as a rheostat of cellular conditions, also controls cell replication. This control is managed through p53, the much-studied protein implicated in many types of cancer. The discovery of the interaction between these two molecules may lead to new ways to fight cancer. First author Russell G. Jones, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of senior author Craig Thompson, MD, at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at Penn, and colleagues describe their findings in the most recent issue of Molecular Cell.
This work tests the novel notion that cancer cells co-opt cellular pathways that govern metabolism in order to proliferate beyond a cell’s normal means. Cancer cells have, by definition, a high metabolic rate and consume glucose at a high rate. One of the fundamental questions being tested in the Thompson lab is the importance of metabolism in cancer and investigating how cancer cells differ from normal cells, allowing them to survive and replicate. (Thompson is the Chair of Penn’s Department of Cancer Biology and Scientific Director of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute.) "We think that the enzyme interprets the energetic environment of the cell," explains Jones. "It senses the stress a cell sees – such as low oxygen, low glucose, or the presence of free radicals – and, from this, can induce a check on replication through p53, acting in effect as a tumor-suppressor."


For this study, the investigators looked at noncancerous mouse cells called fibroblasts to see how normal cells work and what they do physiologically when faced with an environmental challenge: in this case, low glucose levels, explains Jones. When the enzyme – called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) – is turned on, it prevents cells from replicating. It acts as a sensor to detect energy levels in a cell. When the cell experiences energy-limiting conditions, which is typified by low glucose, it uses more energy than it produces and enters into an energy-deficit state. In essence, AMPK acts as a "fuel gauge," letting a cell know when glucose levels are dangerously low. When AMPK is activated by low glucose levels, it stops cells from replicating.

But how is p53 implicated? Normally p53 is activated in response to stress, and it stops a cell from replicating through a complicated set of biochemical steps. For example, if a cell is hit by radiation, enzymes called kinases activate p53, leading to inhibition of cell replication. "We found that cells without p53 due to a mutation would continue to proliferate under low glucose conditions, bypassing the AMPK checkpoint," says Jones. The lab is now doing follow-up studies and is finding that when AMPK is activated in a tumor cell that has no active p53, it still proliferates, escaping the AMPK checkpoint. This avenue of study may one day provide another approach to treating cancer, the researchers surmise.

Karen Kreeger | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New insights into the information processing of motor neurons
22.02.2017 | Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

nachricht Wintering ducks connect isolated wetlands by dispersing plant seeds
22.02.2017 | Utrecht University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Positrons as a new tool for lithium ion battery research: Holes in the electrode

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New insights into the information processing of motor neurons

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Healthy Hiking in Smart Socks

22.02.2017 | Innovative Products

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>