Our website uses cookies to improve your on-site experience. By using the website, cookies are being used as described in our Policy Document
Warning: To log in you will need to enable cookies and reload the page (Policy Document)
My ePortfolio Register   

Ras protein's role in spreading cancer

Protein systems, such as Ras, make up the complex signaling pathways that control whether a cell divides or, in some cases, becomes cancerous and metastasizes into other regions of the body. For example, 98 percent of pancreatic cancers show Ras protein mutations.

Ras proteins have long been the focus of cancer research because of their role as "on/off switch"signalling pathways that control cell division and failure to die like normal, healthy cells do.

In order for Ras proteins to do their job, they need to bind to a membrane surface.

Scientists have tried to pharmaceutically "turn off" the Ras protein, or prevent it from being "turned on", without much success.

Now, a team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been able to study precisely how Ras proteins interact with cell membrane surfaces.

Their work is reported at the Biophysical Society 62nd Annual Meeting

Stephen Sligar and his team have found that the KRas4b form of Ras protein binds more tightly to the cell membrane, but it needs to attach on the correct side.

One side of the KRas4b protein associates with signaling partners; if this side binds to the membrane, then it's not able to interact with its partners, but if the inactive side binds to the membrane, then the active side is available to engage in the downstream signalling process that could enable cancer.

Sligar' s team discovered that fatty acids in KRas4b help control which side attaches to the cell membrane.

"The membrane is playing a very critical role in controlling the activity of very complex signaling networks that involve many different protein molecules, Sligar said. "It is now becoming appreciated how much the membrane composition can dictate how these molecules are recruited to the membrane surface, and then how they go about their business."

In the long term, the revitalized interest in the biophysics of KRas4b, and its interaction with the membrane, will hopefully guide the discovery and design of pharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer.

Source: Biophysical Society

0

Comments

Please click on the 'New Comment' link to the left to add a new comment, or alternatively click any 'Add Comment' link next to any existing post to respond. The views expressed here are not those of ecancer. For more information please view our Privacy Policy.



Founding partners

European Cancer Organisation European Institute of Oncology

Founding Charities

Foundazione Umberto Veronesi Fondazione IEO Swiss Bridge

Published by

ecancer Global Foundation