Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protein linked to growth of organs and cancer

12.08.2005


Johns Hopkins scientists have identified a protein in fruit flies whose counterpart product in humans may help cause cancer.



The researchers report in the Aug. 12 issue of Cell that a protein dubbed Yorkie directly controls the fruit fly’s organ size and, when overabundant, causes increased cell growth and decreased cell death, hallmarks of cancer. Yorkie’s relative in mammals, called YAP, appears to do the same thing, the researchers report, which suggests that in humans, a defect in the gene that makes YAP might contribute to cancer.

"Over the past few decades, science has identified a few so-called oncogenes, whose protein products act as accelerators and trigger abnormal cell growth," said Duojia Pan, Ph.D., who carried out most of the study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas before coming to the Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences. "YAP seems to be another one and our lab is already investigating the amount of YAP protein in human tumors to see if excessive amounts are there."


The researchers also report Yorkie directly regulates the size of all the fruit fly’s organs. "We were surprised to find that by adding Yorkie to levels above normal, the fruit fly’s organs grew larger," said Pan. "Likewise, by removing Yorkie to levels below normal, the fruit fly’s organs were smaller than usual."

The new findings build on Pan’s earlier studies, which showed that fruit flies missing a gene called hippo developed tumors. That study revealed a tumor-suppression pathway involving proteins made by hippo and two other like-minded genes, all three of which function in a chain reaction to chemically add phosphate to other proteins, a process called phosphorylation.

"From those results, we predicted that another protein must be involved in the tumor-suppression pathway that is a target of the phosphorylation cascade," said Pan.

Yorkie turns out to be that "mystery protein," the researchers report. In their experiments, Pan and his colleagues show that the hippo phosphorylation cascade, by adding a phosphate group to the Yorkie protein, turns it off.

When the scientists engineered reduced levels of hippo and other proteins that keep Yorkie in check, Yorkie caused tissues to overgrow by prompting more cells to grow and fewer to die, the hallmarks of cancer.

Further experiments in the fruit fly that replaced Yorkie with YAP showed both proteins play similar roles, suggesting YAP might participate in a tumor-related pathway in mammals.

Pan is now trying to identify the signal that tells genes like hippo to turn on or off once an organ grows to the appropriate size. That signal could be harnessed for therapeutics against cancer.

The authors of the paper besides Pan are Shian Wu from Hopkins, and Jianbin Huang, Jose Barrera and Krista Matthews from UT Southwestern. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Joanna Downer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhmi.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>