Two proteins that scientists once thought carried out the same functions are actually antagonists of each other, and keeping them in balance is key to preventing diseases such as cancer, according to new findings published in the February 25 issue of Developmental Cell by scientists at Fox Chase Cancer Center. The results suggest that new compounds could fight cancer by targeting the pathways responsible for maintaining the proper balance between the proteins.
"It's our job now to understand how we can intervene therapeutically in this system, so we can restore balance when it's thrown off," says study author David L. Wiest, PhD, professor and deputy chief scientific officer at Fox Chase.
The two proteins—"Rpl22" and "Rpl22-like1", which contribute to the process by which additional cellular proteins are made—are created from two similar genes, leading researchers to previously believe they were performing identical functions in the body. "What we're finding is that is absolutely not true," says Wiest. "Not only are they performing different functions, they are antagonizing each other."
During the study, Wiest and his team knocked out Rpl22 in zebrafish—a common model of human disease. Without Rpl22, the zebrafish don't develop a type of T cells (a blood cell) that helps fight infections. The same developmental defect was observed when they knocked out Rpl22-like1, indicating that both proteins are independently required to enable stem cells to give rise to T cells.
But when the researchers tried to restore T cells in zebrafish that lacked Rpl22 by adding back Rpl22-like1, it didn't work. The reverse was also true—Rpl22 was not enough to restore function after the researchers eliminated Rpl22-like1. These results led Wiest and his team to believe that, although the proteins are both involved in producing stem cells, they do not perform the same function.
To learn more about the proteins' individual functions, the researchers looked at the levels of different proteins involved in stem cell production when either Rpl22 or Rpl22-like1 was absent. Without Rpl22-like1, cells had lower levels of a protein known as Smad1—a critical driver of stem cell development. And when Rpl22 disappeared, levels of Smad1 increased dramatically.
Both proteins can bind directly to the cellular RNA from which Smad1 is produced, suggesting that they maintain balance in stem cell production via their antagonistic effects on Smad1 expression, explains Wiest.
"I like to think of Rpl22 as a brake, and Rpl22-like1 as a gas pedal – in order to drive stem cell production, both have to be employed properly. If one or the other is too high, this upsets the balance of forces that regulate stem cell production, with potentially deadly effects," says Wiest.
Specifically, too much Rpl22 (the "brake"), and stem cell production shuts off, decreasing the number of blood cells and leading to problems such as anemia. Too much Rpl22-like1 (the "gas pedal"), on the other hand, can create an over-production of stem cells, leading to leukemia.
Previous research has found that Rpl22-like1 is often elevated in cancer, including 80% of cases of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Conversely, researchers have found that in other cancers, the gene that encodes Rpl22 is deleted. "Either one of these events is sufficient to alter the balance in stem cell production in a way that pushes towards cancer," says Wiest.
Co-authors on the study include Yong Zhang, Anne-Cécile E. Duc, Shuyun Rao, Xiao-Li Sun, Alison N. Bilbee, Michele Rhodes, Qin Li, Dietmar J. Kappes, and Jennifer Rhodes of Fox Chase.
Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation's first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase also was among the first institutions to receive the National Cancer Institute's prestigious comprehensive cancer center designation in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center's nursing program has achieved Magnet status for excellence three consecutive times. Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research and oversees programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. For more information, call 1-888-FOX-CHASE (1-888-369-2427) or visit www.foxchase.org.
Diana Quattrone | EurekAlert!
Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch
22.05.2018 | Universität Basel
Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
22.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
Die inneren Monde des Saturns sehen aus wie riesige Ravioli und Spätzle. Das enthüllten Bilder der Raumsonde Cassini. Nun konnten Forscher der Universität Bern erstmals zeigen, wie diese Monde entstanden sind. Die eigenartigen Formen sind eine natürliche Folge von Zusammenstössen zwischen kleinen Monden ähnlicher Grösse, wie Computersimulationen demonstrieren.
Als Martin Rubin, Astrophysiker an der Universität Bern, die Bilder der Saturnmonde Pan und Atlas im Internet sah, war er verblüfft. Die Nahaufnahmen der...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
Das Astronomische Institut der Universität Bern (AIUB) hat sein Observatorium in Zimmerwald um zwei zusätzliche Kuppelbauten erweitert sowie eine Kuppel erneuert. Damit stehen nun sechs vollautomatisierte Teleskope zur Himmelsüberwachung zur Verfügung – insbesondere zur Detektion und Katalogisierung von Raumschrott. Unter dem Namen «Swiss Optical Ground Station and Geodynamics Observatory» erhält die Forschungsstation damit eine noch grössere internationale Bedeutung.
Am Nachmittag des 10. Februars 2009 stiess über Sibirien in einer Höhe von rund 800 Kilometern der aktive Telefoniesatellit Iridium 33 mit dem ausgedienten...
Passt eine ultrakalte Wolke aus zehntausenden Rubidium-Atomen in ein einzelnes Riesenatom? Forscherinnen und Forschern am 5. Physikalischen Institut der Universität Stuttgart ist dies erstmals gelungen. Sie zeigten einen ganz neuen Ansatz, die Wechselwirkung von geladenen Kernen mit neutralen Atomen bei weitaus niedrigeren Temperaturen zu untersuchen, als es bisher möglich war. Dies könnte einen wichtigen Schritt darstellen, um in Zukunft quantenmechanische Effekte in der Atom-Ion Wechselwirkung zu studieren. Das renommierte Fachjournal Physical Review Letters und das populärwissenschaftliche Begleitjournal Physics berichteten darüber.*)
In dem Experiment regten die Forscherinnen und Forscher ein Elektron eines einzelnen Atoms in einem Bose-Einstein-Kondensat mit Laserstrahlen in einen riesigen...
22.05.2018 | Veranstaltungen
21.05.2018 | Veranstaltungen
18.05.2018 | Veranstaltungen
22.05.2018 | Biowissenschaften Chemie
22.05.2018 | Physik Astronomie
22.05.2018 | Physik Astronomie