Home  |  Top News  |  Most Popular  |  Video  |  Multimedia  |  News Feeds  |  Feedback
  Medicine  |  Nature & Earth  |  Biology  |  Technology & Engineering  |  Space & Planetary  |  Psychology  |  Physics & Chemistry  |  Economics  |  Archaeology
Top > Medicine, Health Care > Cancer Gene Family Member Functions… >
Cancer Gene Family Member Functions Key to Cell Adhesion And Migration

Published: August 30, 2012.
By University of North Carolina Health Care
http://www.med.unc.edu

The WTX gene is mutated in approximately 30 percent of Wilms tumors, a pediatric kidney cancer. Like many genes, WTX is part of a family. In this case, WTX has two related siblings, FAM123A and FAM123C. While cancer researchers are learning more of WTX and how its loss contributes to cancer formation, virtually nothing is known of FAM123C or FAM123A, the latter of which is a highly abundant protein within neurons, cells that receive and send messages from the body to the brain and back to the body.

A UNC-led team of scientists used sophisticated technologies to identify and describe the protein interactions that distinguish each member of the WTX family. They found that unlike WTX and FAM123C, FAM123A interacts with a specific set of proteins that regulates cell adhesion and migration, processes essential to normal cell functioning and which, when mutated, contribute to human diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer's.

The report is the first to associate a member of the WTX gene family with cell adhesion and migration. Ben Major, PhD, and his research team believe that because FAM123A is so highly expressed in neurons, their findings raise the possibility that FAM123A controls neuron migration and neuronal activity, both of which play critical roles in development, neuro-degeneration and learning. Dr. Major, study senior author, is an assistant professor of cell biology and physiology in the UNC School of Medicine and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Their report appears in the September 4, 2012 online edition of Science Signaling.

The specific set of proteins the scientists discovered within the FAM123A complex are known microtubules-associated proteins. Microtubules, one component of a cell's cytoskeleton, are rigid hollow rods approximately 25 nm in diameter, about 3000 times thinner than a human hair. Microtubules are dynamic structures that undergo continual assembly and disassembly within the cell. They function both to determine cell shape and to control a variety of cell movements, including some forms of cell locomotion.

Dr. Major explains, "Since FAM123A and WTX are closely related proteins, anything we learn about FAM123A helps us know more about WTX, the tumor suppressor gene lost in pediatric kidney cancer. Unlike WTX, FAM123A binds to a specific set of proteins that are famous for regulating microtubules, a critical component within the cell's cytoskeleton or cellular 'scaffolding.' It's important to understand how different cellular cytoskeletal networks communicate and coordinate with each other. This communication is required for normal development and life.

"When the cytoskeleton is not functioning properly, a myriad of diseases arise, including certain cancers and cancer metastases. In cancer, cells can't move to new areas of the body without being able to squeeze between and crawl around surrounding cells and tissues, which ultimately allows the cell to move away from the primary tumor. Such movement requires complicated and intricate coordination between the cytoskeleton and the rest of the cell. Our work shows that FAM123A is critical for this communication."

Dr. Major and his research team use a powerful new technology to study protein complexes. He says, "Proteins never work alone, rather they bind each other to collectively carry out a specific task. An important challenge in cancer research today is determining which of the more than 30,000 proteins in a cell come together to form complexes." Dr. Major and colleagues can purify a specific protein from cancer cells and then, using sophisticated technologies called mass spectrometry, they identify the associated proteins.


Show Reference »


Translate this page: Chinese French German Italian Japanese Korean Portuguese Russian Spanish


 
All comments are reviewed before being posted. We cannot accept messages that refer a product, or web site.If you are looking for a response to a question please use our another feedback page.
Related »

Cells 
10/11/13 
Cell Growth Discovery by UCSF Team Has Implications for Targeting Cancer
By University of California - San Francisco
The way cells divide to form new cells — to support growth, to repair damaged tissues, or simply to maintain our healthy adult functioning — is controlled in previously …
Proteins 
3/4/14 
New Probes from Scripps Research Quantify Folded And Misfolded Protein Levels in Cells
By Scripps Research Institute
LA JOLLA, CA – March 4, 2014 – Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have invented small-molecule folding probes that enable them to quantify functional, normally folded and …
Stojdl 
10/18/11 
CHEO Scientist Advances Biotherapeutics as Published in Cancer Cell
By Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute
Oncolytic virology uses live viruses to sense the genetic difference between a tumor and normal cell. Once the virus finds a tumor cell, it replicates inside that cell, kills …
Proteins 
6/7/11 
Scientists Uncover Role for Cell Scaffold in Tumor Formation
By Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia
A group of scientists at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, in Portugal, have uncovered a surprising link between the cell's skeleton and organ size. The team, led by Florence …
Cell 
7/8/11 
Scientists Find 'Brake-override' Proteins That Enable Development of Some Cancers
By Scripps Research Institute
Scripps Research Institute scientists have discovered a basic mechanism that can enable developing cancer cells to sustain abnormal growth. The finding is expected to lead to the targeting of …
Rictor 
10/28/10 
Rictor Protein Offers Scientists a New Molecular Target for Cancer Therapies
By Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
BOSTON – The discovery that a protein called Rictor plays a key role in destroying a close cousin of the AKT oncogene could provide scientists with a new molecular …
Size 
10/14/10 
Scientists Find Signals That Make Cell Nucleus Blow Up Like a Balloon
By University of California - Berkeley
Size matters when it comes to the nucleus of a cell, and now scientists have discovered the signals that control how big the nucleus gets. …
More » 
 
© Newsline Group  |  About  |  Privacy Policy  |  Feedback  |  Mobile  |  Japanese Edition
All contents are copyright of their owners except U.S. Government works. U.S. Government works are assumed to be in the public domain unless otherwise noted. Everything else copyright ScienceNewsline.