- p53 is the tumor suppressor oncogene protecting the genome from cellular stress and playing a role in cancer
- When mutated, p53 switches from serving as a protection against cancer to causing aggressive cancers
- This dual nature of p53 has been puzzling scientists and there was much to be understood about the molecular mechanisms governing its stability and function
- An enzyme regulator (PIPK1-alpha and its lipid messenger PIP2) of, which plays a role in cancer was discovered. However, eliminating the mutated form of p53 can prevent cancers
When this gene becomes mutated, the protein becomes stable and abundant accumulating in the nucleus of cells thereby causing cancer. This dual nature of p53 has been puzzling scientists and there was much to be understood about the molecular mechanisms governing its stability and function.
Scientists Find Key to Common Cancer PathwayThe research team at the University of Wisconsin, Madison led by cancer scientists Richard A. Anderson and Vincent Cyrns reported the discovery of an enzyme regulator (PIPK1-alpha and its lipid messenger PIP2) of p53 which plays a role in cancer. This enzyme is a nuclear phosphoinositide kinase complex.
Professor Cyrns said that small heat shock proteins are good at stabilizing proteins and this type of strong binding with p53 activates its cancer-causing role.
The study also demonstrated that interrupting the PIP2 enzyme pathway can prevent mutant p53 from accumulating and causing damage. Professor Anderson said that eliminating the mutated form of p53 can prevent cancers.
Cryns says that despite p53 being one of the most frequently mutated genes causing cancer, they still did not have any drug that targeted it.
Future Research PlansThe research team is now on to discovering inhibitors for PIPK1-alpha which could be used to treat tumors caused by p53 mutations. They hope to find methods to block the kinase or other molecules that bind p53 and lead to accumulation of the protein in the cell nucleus.
The study was published in Nature Cell Biology.
- UW team finds key to common cancer pathway in discovery that could unlock new therapies - (https://news.wisc.edu/uw-team-finds-key-to-common-cancer-pathway-in-discovery-that-could-unlock-new-therapies/)
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