Johns Hopkins scientists have identified a protein in fruit flies whose counterpart product in humans may help cause cancer.
The researchers report in the Aug. 12 issue of Cell that a protein dubbed Yorkie directly controls the fruit flys organ size and, when overabundant, causes increased cell growth and decreased cell death, hallmarks of cancer. Yorkies relative in mammals, called YAP, appears to do the same thing, the researchers report, which suggests that in humans, a defect in the gene that makes YAP might contribute to cancer.
"Over the past few decades, science has identified a few so-called oncogenes, whose protein products act as accelerators and trigger abnormal cell growth," said Duojia Pan, Ph.D., who carried out most of the study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas before coming to the Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences. "YAP seems to be another one and our lab is already investigating the amount of YAP protein in human tumors to see if excessive amounts are there."
Joanna Downer | EurekAlert!
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