Researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center are describing an entirely new way by which cells can become cancerous. And they say their finding provides an answer to a mystery in lung and other cancers: why a potent tumor suppressor gene called FUS1 functions as it should, yet none of the protein it produces can be found anywhere in a cancer cell.
In the May issue of Cancer Research, Advances in Brief, the investigators report that protective proteins made by FUS1 are, in fact, normal, but that a critical modification that should take place after they are produced does not - and this renders the proteins inert.
Specifically, they found the defect is in a common cell process known as "myristoylation" that occurs when chains of fatty acids hook on to newly-minted proteins, which allows them to stick to the oily surface of the cell membrane.
Julie Penne | EurekAlert!
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