Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Active substance from plant slows down aggressive eye cancer

20.03.2019

Researchers at the Universities of Magdeburg and Bonn are testing a substance from the leaves of the coralberry

An active substance that has been known for 30 years could unexpectedly turn into a ray of hope against eye tumors. This is shown by a study conducted by researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Magdeburg together with US colleagues. The results are published in the renowned journal “Science Signaling”. The plant leaves of which contain the tested substance is anything but rare: At Christmas time you can find it in every well-assorted garden center.


The leaves of the coralberry (Ardisia crenata) contain the natural substance FR900359, which may be suitable as a drug against eye cancer.

Volker Lannert/Uni Bonn


The team of researchers: Suvi Annala (right), Prof. Evi Kostenis (center), Prof. Gabriele M. König (left)

Volker Lannert/Uni Bonn

An active substance that has been known for 30 years could unexpectedly turn into a ray of hope against eye tumors. This is shown by a study conducted by researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Magdeburg together with US colleagues. The results are published in the renowned journal “Science Signaling”. The plant leaves of which contain the tested substance is anything but rare: At Christmas time you can find it in every well-assorted garden center.

The coralberry decorates many German living rooms during the winter months. At this time it forms bright red fruits, which make it a popular ornamental plant. The plant, originally from Korea, is surprisingly resistant to insect attack: Its leaves contain bacteria that produce a natural insecticide - a toxin with the cryptic name FR900359, abbreviated FR.

This toxin could soon become a star in a completely different field: as a potential drug against uveal melanoma, the most common and aggressive variant of eye cancer. FR has been the focus of pharmaceutical research for some time now: “The substance inhibits an important group of molecules in the cells, the Gq proteins,” explains Prof. Dr. Evi Kostenis from the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology at the University of Bonn.

Gq proteins have a similar function in the cell as a city’s emergency control center: When the control center receives a call, it informs the police, ambulance and fire brigade as required. Gq proteins, on the other hand, can be activated by certain control signals. In their activated form, they switch different metabolic pathways on or off. However, the cell should not permanently change its behavior. The Gq proteins therefore inactivate themselves after a short time.

In uveal melanoma, however, a tiny mutation prevents two important Gq proteins from returning to their inactive state. They thus remain permanently active - this is as if the control center were constantly sending emergency vehicles to the source of the fire, even though the fire has been extinguished for days. Due to this malfunction, cells harboring this mutation begin to divide uncontrollably.

“FR can stop this division activity,” says Kostenis. “That's something no one would have expected.” It has been known for some time that FR can prevent the activation of Gq proteins. The substance “clings” to the proteins and ensures that they remain in their inactive form. Common understanding was that FR ignores any Gq proteins that have already been activated. “Therefore, it seemed impossible for the substance to be effective in mutated and thus permanently active Gq proteins,” emphasizes Dr. Evelyn Gaffal.

A firm grip on the cancer causing protein

Gaffal recently moved from Bonn to the University of Magdeburg. Her research there includes strategies for combating skin cancer. “We also used FR in our experiments and were surprised to find that it suppresses the proliferation of cancer cells,” she explains. Scientists now also know why this is so: The mutated Gq proteins also seem to occasionally revert into their inactive form. As soon as this happens, FR900359 intervenes and gets a firm grip on the molecule. As a result, over time, more and more Gq proteins are successively withdrawn from their activated state for good.

FR has already proven its effectiveness in cell cultures and in experiments with mice suffering from cancer. But there are still a few hurdles to overcome before application in humans becomes feasible. Above all, the substance must reach the tumor cells precisely, without hitting other tissues. “Gq proteins assume vital functions practically everywhere in the body,” explains Prof. Kostenis. “If we want FR to kill only the tumor cells, we have to get the drug right there. However, this is a challenge that many other chemotherapies also have to deal with.”

FR was isolated for the first time 30 years ago by Japanese researchers. Another 25 years would pass before its biological mode of action was described - by none other than the research groups led by Professor Gabriele M. König and Professor Evi Kostenis at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology of the University of Bonn. This work now forms the basis for a research group of the German Research Foundation (DFG) on the group of G proteins and the possibility of their pharmacological manipulation.

Publication: Suvi Annala, Xiaodong Feng, Naveen Shridhar, Funda Eryilmaz, Julian Patt, JuHee Yang, Eva M. Pfeil, Rodolfo Daniel Cervantes-Villagrana, Asuka Inoue, Felix Häberlein, Tanja Slodczyk, Raphael Reher, Stefan Kehraus, Stefania Monteleone, Ramona Schrage, Nina Heycke, Ulrike Rick, Sandra Engel, Alexander Pfeifer, Peter Kolb, Gabriele König, Moritz Bünemann, Thomas Tüting, José Vázquez-Prado, J. Silvio Gutkind, Evelyn Gaffal & Evi Kostenis: Direct targeting of Gaq and Ga11 oncoproteins in cancer cells; Science Signaling; DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aau5948

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Evi Kostenis
Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology at the University of Bonn
Tel. +49(0)228/732678
E-mail: kostenis@uni-bonn.de

Dr. Evelyn Gaffal
Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg
University dermatology clinic
Tel. +49(0)391/6715249
E-mail: evelyn.gaffal@med.ovgu.de

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Prof. Dr. Evi Kostenis
Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology at the University of Bonn
Tel. +49(0)228/732678
E-mail: kostenis@uni-bonn.de

Dr. Evelyn Gaffal
Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg
University dermatology clinic
Tel. +49(0)391/6715249
E-mail: evelyn.gaffal@med.ovgu.de

Originalpublikation:

Suvi Annala, Xiaodong Feng, Naveen Shridhar, Funda Eryilmaz, Julian Patt, JuHee Yang, Eva M. Pfeil, Rodolfo Daniel Cervantes-Villagrana, Asuka Inoue, Felix Häberlein, Tanja Slodczyk, Raphael Reher, Stefan Kehraus, Stefania Monteleone, Ramona Schrage, Nina Heycke, Ulrike Rick, Sandra Engel, Alexander Pfeifer, Peter Kolb, Gabriele König, Moritz Bünemann, Thomas Tüting, José Vázquez-Prado, J. Silvio Gutkind, Evelyn Gaffal & Evi Kostenis: Direct targeting of Gaq and Ga11 oncoproteins in cancer cells; Science Signaling; DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aau5948

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.uni-bonn.de/news/056-2019

Johannes Seiler | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biophysicists reveal how optogenetic tool works
29.05.2020 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

nachricht Mapping immune cells in brain tumors
29.05.2020 | University of Zurich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

Im Focus: New double-contrast technique picks up small tumors on MRI

Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

Im Focus: When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality

Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...

Im Focus: Rolling into the deep

Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Black nitrogen: Bayreuth researchers discover new high-pressure material and solve a puzzle of the periodic table

29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences

Argonne researchers create active material out of microscopic spinning particles

29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences

Smart windows that self-illuminate on rainy days

29.05.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>