The findings published in Nature Genetics have implications for pharmacogenetics, the study of how inherited variations may affect drug metabolism and response, and present a target for future ‘designer’ cancer therapies.
The p53 tumor-suppressor protein removes damaged cells by a programmed cell death (apoptosis). When the p53 gene is mutated - as it is in approximately half of all human cancers - damaged cells do not die, but rather continue to grow and divide and eventually form a tumor. The two most common polymorphic forms of p53 are p53Pro72 and p53Arg72 and the distribution varies in different ethnic groups. The two forms differ by just one amino acid in the protein sequence. Several years ago, the LICR team discovered that the ability of p53 to control apoptosis is regulated by the ASPP family of proteins.
In this study, the investigators showed that the ASPP family preferentially regulates the p53Pro72 over p53Arg72 form. These results suggest that ASPP protein levels determine cancer susceptibility in people with the p53Pro72 form, the prevalence of which is linked closely to latitude.
According to Professor Xin Lu, the senior author of the study and Director of the LICR Branch, the occurrence of the p53Pro72 form is highest in ethnic populations from around the equator. “It’s really interesting to speculate whether the increased exposure to DNA-damaging ultraviolet radiation has resulted in the need for a second level of p53-regulation. The results are important for furthering our understanding of how p53, the tumor suppressor, is regulated, and also offers intriguing hints about how these regulatory mechanisms might have evolved.”
While speculations about how the mechanism evolved are largely academic at this stage, Professor Lu says the findings have practical applications for future cancer therapies and the growing field of pharmacogenetics. “It’s not hard to imagine a scenario in the future where we might examine the p53 sequence of a cancer patient as part of tailoring an individualized therapeutic strategy. If the patient has p53Pro72, then she might get a specific therapy that alters ASPP protein levels to re-activate p53’s anti-cancer function. If the patient has p53Arg72, we know the therapy would be less effective.”
Sarah White | alfa
Historical rainfall levels are significant in carbon emissions from soil
30.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin
3D printer inks from the woods
30.05.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.
Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is transparent, harder than diamond and stronger than steel, yet flexible, and a significantly better...
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy