In two groundbreaking papers published in two prestigious journals over the last two months, University of Southern California researchers have provided evidence of two previously unknown functions for a protein that is central to the transcription of genes. Both papers shed light on the role this protein-called TATA-binding protein, or TBP-may play in promoting the development of cancer.
"What weve found is that changes in the cellular concentrations of this critical transcription factor cause specific changes in gene expression patterns, which then contribute to cellular transformation, and a cancer cell phenotype," says Deborah Johnson, Ph.D., professor of molecular pharmacology and toxicology at the USC School of Pharmacy and biochemistry and molecular biology in the Keck School of Medicine.
The first paper, published in Molecular and Cell Biology in May, showed that TBP levels are increased by oncogenic proteins like Ras, one of the first genes found to be involved in human cancers. And that increase, Johnson says, has implications for the development of cancer at the cellular level.
Jon Weiner | EurekAlert!
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