Understanding of How Cells Turn Cancerous Advances at UCR

August 30, 2006

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have uncovered a key step in how healthy cells protect themselves from mutating into cancerous tumor cells.

A research team, led by Professor of Biochemistry Xuan Liu, showed how proteins in the nucleus of cells, PTEN and p53, interact to prevent a cell that has suffered DNA damage from mutating into a cancerous tumor.

Liu, who has been studying the workings of tumor suppressor proteins for the past decade, says the latest discovery by researchers in her laboratory provides an exciting new link in understanding how these proteins work together to regulate how or whether the cell replicates or dies.

“Our previous paper showed that these two proteins (PTEN and p53) work together to regulate the cell,” she said. “This paper begins to show how the two work together.”

Liu published her research findings in a featured article titled Mechanistic insights into maintenance of high p53 acetylation by PTEN, in the Aug. 18 issue of Molecular Cell. Co-authors include UCR colleagues Andrew G. Li, Landon G. Piluso Xin Cai and Gang Wei; with William R. Sellers in the Department of Medical Oncology, Dana Ferber Cancer Institute of Harvard University in Boston.

They found that when a cell’s DNA becomes damaged, PTEN forms a complex with another protein, p300, which in effect, switches on p53, a very important tumor suppressor.

“I would like to continue to expand our understanding of how p53 is activated in conjunction with PTEN and under what circumstances it functions to protect the cell,” Liu said.

Because her work has been done mostly in the test tube, Liu would like to determine whether her findings can be replicated in the animal testing phase.

Source: University of California, Riverside

Explore further: Molecular tumor markers could reveal new therapeutic targets for lung cancer treatment

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Could genetics influence what we like to eat?

April 23, 2017

Have you ever wondered why you keep eating certain foods, even if you know they are not good for you? Gene variants that affect the way our brain works may be the reason, according to a new study. The new research could lead ...

When liver immune cells turn bad

April 21, 2017

A high-fat diet and obesity turn "hero" virus-fighting liver immune cells "rogue", leading to insulin resistance, a condition that often results in type 2 diabetes, according to research published today in Science Immunology.

Scientists discover gene that blocks spread of colon cancer

April 21, 2017

Researchers from RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) and the University of Nice, France, have discovered the function of a gene called KCNQ1 that is directly related to the survival of colon cancer patients. The ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.