A University of Minnesota study has confirmed the pivotal role of an enzyme known as JNK2 in the development of nonmelanoma skin cancers. The findings suggest that JNK2 should be evaluated as a target for the prevention and treatment of such cancers. Lead author Zigang Dong, director of the university’s Hormel Institute in Austin, Minn., will present the work at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, July 13, at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting in the Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW, Washington, D.C.
Ultraviolet rays from the sun are the major culprit in skin cancer, which accounts for more than half the cancers in the United States. The process of cancer development involves a chain of interactions among biochemicals in the skin, and biochemicals that play key roles in carcinogenesis make potential therapeutic targets. Many human cancers show elevated activity in some form of JNK enzyme, and the enzyme is also activated by sunlight, Dong said.
"Even if one goes into the sun for a few minutes, the activity of JNK in the epidermis rises," said Dong. "If you go out for a few minutes, JNK activity doesn’t stay elevated. But it looks as though if a person gets too much sun exposure, JNK activity becomes permanently elevated and cancers develop. This study indicates that some form of JNK activity is a key step in the process by which nonmelanoma cancers grow."
Deane Morrison | EurekAlert!
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Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Hamburg and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) outstation in the city have developed a new method to watch biomolecules at work. This method dramatically simplifies starting enzymatic reactions by mixing a cocktail of small amounts of liquids with protein crystals. Determination of the protein structures at different times after mixing can be assembled into a time-lapse sequence that shows the molecular foundations of biology.
The functions of biomolecules are determined by their motions and structural changes. Yet it is a formidable challenge to understand these dynamic motions.
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Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Potsdam (both in Germany) and the University of Toronto (Canada) have pieced together a detailed time-lapse movie revealing all the major steps during the catalytic cycle of an enzyme. Surprisingly, the communication between the protein units is accomplished via a water-network akin to a string telephone. This communication is aligned with a ‘breathing’ motion, that is the expansion and contraction of the protein.
This time-lapse sequence of structures reveals dynamic motions as a fundamental element in the molecular foundations of biology.
Two research teams have succeeded simultaneously in measuring the long-sought Thorium nuclear transition, which enables extremely precise nuclear clocks. TU Wien (Vienna) is part of both teams.
If you want to build the most accurate clock in the world, you need something that "ticks" very fast and extremely precise. In an atomic clock, electrons are...
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