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 Biochemical 'fingerprints' reveal diabetes progression
22.08.2017 | Umea University

nachricht When fish swim in the holodeck
22.08.2017 | University of Vienna

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular volume control

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

When fish swim in the holodeck

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Biochemical 'fingerprints' reveal diabetes progression

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>