However, advanced prostate cancers are often androgen-independent, meaning that androgen-blocking therapies are ineffective.
Scientists aren't sure how this shift occurs as prostate cancer advances. One idea is that prostate cancer cells acquire the ability to make their own androgen. Another says that the androgen receptor that is known to stimulate tumor growth can still be active even when the hormone is not present. Most likely, both are important.
A recent study by UNC researchers, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, provides evidence for the second theory, demonstrating that expression of one of a group of genes found only in humans and non-human primates can promote androgen receptor activity in concert with other proteins called coregulators.
One of a group of MAGE genes, so named because they were originally identified in melanoma, called MAGE-11 interacts with another protein, called p300, to provide the cancer cells with a way to enhance androgen receptor signaling and promote tumor growth, even when patients are undergoing androgen deprivation therapy.
According to team leader Elizabeth M. Wilson, PhD, professor of pediatrics and biochemistry and biophysics at UNC-Chapel Hill, "We found that a small portion of the androgen receptor interacts with the MAGE-11 molecule which serves as a bridge to p300, a strong histone modifying enzyme that increases androgen receptor activity. This is exciting because it shows how the cancer cells have developed a way to boost androgen receptor activity, even in the absence or at low levels of the hormone that binds the androgen receptor."
Wilson, who is also a UNC Lineberger member, goes on to explain that understanding this mechanism opens the door to additional targets for new therapies and broader clinical applications of new drugs.
"The MAGE-11 molecule is a promising target for shutting down androgen receptor activity that promotes the growth of cancer cells," she adds.
Other team members include Emily Askew, a recent PhD graduate of the Toxicology Curriculum at UNC, Suxia Bai, PhD, a former post-doctoral fellow in the Wilson laboratory, and Amanda Blackwelder, a research specialist.
The research was supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Public Health Service.
Ellen de Graffenreid | EurekAlert!
Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel
The Nagoya Protocol Creates Disadvantages for Many Countries when Applied to Microorganisms
05.12.2016 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
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...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering