Elimination of two ribosome subunits activates cell cycle control

Alterations in the formation of ribosomes (the elements of the cell where proteins are made) cause the induction of p53 protein and cell cycle disruption. This process is crucial to understand fundamental biological processes and the emergence of various diseases. Now, scientists at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) have found that this response is achieved independently, depending on which subunit of the ribosome (40S and 60S) is impaired, by the joint action of two proteins of the ribosome. The research results are published in the latest issue of the journal Genes and Development.

The , produced by the gene of the same name, is a in humans and other mammals. Half of human tumours have mutations in the and alterations of regulators of this gene are present in many other cancers. However, p53 is not only a tumour suppressor but is involved in other cellular processes such as longevity, mitochondrial oxidation and . Activation of p53 protein due to malfunctions in the formation of ribosomes is associated with several rare diseases that are linked with mutations in components of the cell nucleus.

The study by IDIBELL researchers shows that ribosomal proteins RPL11 and RPL5 cooperate to suppress Hdm2, another protein that regulates the degradation of p53. This causes increased levels of p53 and cell cycle arrest. These results are contrary to previous dogma, claiming that other ribosome proteins could elicit a similar response to RPL11 and RPL5.

The coordinator of the study, George Thomas, director of the research group of Metabolic Diseases and Cancer at IDIBELL explains that the knowledge of this mechanism "may have implications in understanding fundamental processes such as longevity, metabolic diseases or cancer and can provide a basis for developing new drugs."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cancer is a p53 protein aggregation disease

Mar 29, 2011

Protein aggregation, generally associated with Alzheimer's and mad cow disease, turns out to play a significant role in cancer. In a paper published in Nature Chemical Biology, Frederic Rousseau and Joost Schymkowitz of VIB ...

Preventing cancer without killing cells

Mar 30, 2007

Inducing senescence in aged cells may be sufficient to guard against spontaneous cancer development, according to a paper published online this week in EMBO reports. It was previously unknown whether cellular senescence or ...

Recommended for you

How black truffles deal with the jumpers in their genome

6 hours ago

The black truffle uses reversible epigenetic processes to regulate its genes, and adapt to changes in its surroundings. The 'methylome' - a picture of the genome regulation taking place in the truffle, is published in the ...

Gene research targets scarring process

Jul 28, 2014

Scientists have identified three genes that may be the key to preventing scar formation after burn injury, and even healing existing scars.

User comments