Researchers at the University of Southern California have identified two molecules that may be more effective cancer killers than are currently available on the market.
The peptides, molecules derived from a cancer-causing virus, target an enzyme in cancerous cells that regulates a widely researched tumor suppressor protein known as p53. The peptides inhibit the enzyme, causing p53 levels in cancer cells to rise, which leads to cell death. Lymphoma tumors in mice injected with the two peptides showed marked regression with no significant weight-loss or gross abnormalities.
The discovery is detailed in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, which posts online on Sunday, Nov. 6.
HAUSP, or herpesvirus-associated ubiquitin specific protease, is an enzyme that cleaves the normally occurring protein ubiquitin from substrates like p53. In a healthy environment, ubiquitin binds to a substrate, causing it to degrade and die.
"Given the mounting evidence that HAUSP serves as a pivotal component regulating p53 protein levels, the inhibition of HAUSP should have the benefit to fully activate p53," said Hye-Ra Lee, Ph.D., the study's first author and a research fellow in the Department of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
Using co-crystal structural analysis, Lee and her colleagues found a tight, "belt-type" interaction between HAUSP and a viral protein that causes Kaposi's sarcoma and lymphoma. The peptides derived from this viral protein bind 200 times more strongly to HAUSP than p53, making them ideal HAUSP inhibitors. The researchers found that the peptides comprehensively prevented HAUSP from cleaving ubiquitin, allowing p53 levels to rise — thereby representing potential new chemotherapeutic molecules that can be used for anti-cancer therapies.
New research is under way with Nouri Neamati, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences in the USC School of Pharmacy, to find small molecules that mimic the peptides. The peptides and other small molecules are being tested on different cancers.
"Significant advances in scientific understanding often come at the intersection of independent lines of research from different disciplines, for instance, structure and virus study. Time after time, viruses are teaching us," said Jae Jung, Ph.D., the study's principal investigator and chairman of the Department of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology at the Keck School of Medicine.
Authors of the study include researchers from the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Korea Basic Science Institute, Korea University, University of Science and Technology (Korea), and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Funding came from the National Institute of Health and National Research Foundation of Korea.
Alison Trinidad | EurekAlert!
Molecular 'clutch' puts infection-fighting cells into gear
22.07.2019 | National Centre for Biological Sciences
22.07.2019 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Augsburg chemists and physicists report how they have succeeded in the extremely difficult separation of hydrogen and deuterium in a gas mixture.
Thanks to the Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) technology developed here and already widely used, the University of Augsburg is internationally recognized as the...
Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.
In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...
Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.
Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...
Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.
Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...
For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.
Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...
24.06.2019 | Event News
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
22.07.2019 | Information Technology
22.07.2019 | Health and Medicine
22.07.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering