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!
'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells
20.02.2018 | Biophysical Society
New printing technique uses cells and molecules to recreate biological structures
20.02.2018 | Queen Mary University of London
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...
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...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
20.02.2018 | Life Sciences
20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering
20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy