The protein, called PTK6, is found in normal skin and gut cells -- and in cancerous, but not normal, breast tissue.
"Our research has primarily focused on the normal function of this protein in the gut, where it regulates growth and differentiation," said Angela Tyner, professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics.
Epithelial cells, such as skin cells and the cells that line the colon, turn over rapidly. To replace them, new cells must be continuously produced that become specialized, or differentiated, to perform specific functions.
To further their investigation of PTK6, Tyner and her colleagues developed a mouse that lacked the PTK6 gene. Based on their observation of increased growth in the intestine, Tyner's group suspected that mice lacking PTK6 would be more susceptible to cancer.
Using a carcinogen, the researchers induced colon tumors resembling human sporadic colon cancer in mice lacking the PTK6 gene and in normal mice.
"Mice lacking PTK6 were highly resistant to the carcinogen and developed fewer tumors," Tyner said. "It was an unexpected result."
Tyner and her colleagues were able to establish the reason for this unexpected result. They found that PTK6 was activating a protein responsible for turning genes on and off called STAT3. Previous studies have established a role for STAT3 in proliferation and found that it plays an important role in many epithelial cancers, including skin cancer and colon cancer.
PTK6 seems to be playing opposite roles in normal and cancer cells, Tyner said.
"We believe that PTK6 may play a role in initiation of cancer in the colon, but we don't yet know what role PTK6 may play in metastasis."
Tyner's laboratory is continuing to investigate the role of PTK6 in cancer, which may provide a future target for therapies not only for colon cancer but breast cancer as well.
The study, published in Gastroenterology, was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the American Gastroenterological Association. Jessica Gierut was the study's first author, and Yu Zheng, Wenjun Bie, Robert Carroll, Susan Ball-Kell and Andrea Haegebarth also contributed to the study.
Jeanne Galatzer-Levy | EurekAlert!
A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates
20.08.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden
Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
20.08.2018 | Information Technology
20.08.2018 | Life Sciences
20.08.2018 | Information Technology