“We now know why this gene causes these tumours and can start looking at how best to target the mutant proteins so that the cells expressing them can be killed or stopped from growing,” says Lois Mulligan, professor of pathology and molecular medicine with the Division of Cancer Biology and Genetics of the Queen’s Cancer Research Institute. She is senior author of a study to be published November 15 in the journal Cancer Research.
Taranjit S. Gujral, a Ph D student in Queen’s Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine and lead author on the paper, developed three-dimensional models of the mutated RET protein implicated in a condition causing cancerous thyroid tumours. The model allowed him to predict and compare the protein’s molecular actions and to see that the protein was ten times more active than normal in cells associated with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia 2B (MEN 2B) syndrome, an inherited cancer syndrome. Co-authors on the study include Vinay K. Singh and Zongchao Jia of Queen’s Biochemistry Department.
“It’s like stepping on the gas in a car and getting way more gas than you bargained for,” says Mulligan. “The mutation may cause some new actions but it chiefly does some actions more efficiently than normal.”
MEN 2B is a dominantly inherited condition – the most severe of its kind – and is characterized by the early onset of thyroid tumours, sometimes even affecting infants, and can also cause developmental abnormalities including elongated bones, gastric problems and bumpy lips.
MEN 2B is currently treated with surgery, and other treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy are not very effective. The study provides valuable tools for specific targeting of the actions of the protein that may aid in the development of anticancer therapies.
The models created by Mr. Gujral, a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Trainee in Transdisciplinary Cancer Research and Protein Function Discovery, can be used further to help illuminate the actions of the protein with MEN 2B’s other mutations. The research team credits the transdisciplinary approach and its benefits for providing fresh perspectives in generating the new understanding of RET’s role in MEN 2B. Additional funding for the study came from the Canadian Cancer Society and the CIHR.
Contacts:Sarah Withrow, Communications Officer, 613.533.3280
Sarah Withrow | EurekAlert!
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy