Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Structures Of Marine Toxins Provide Insight Into Their Effectiveness As Cancer Drugs

Date:
September 29, 2005
Source:
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary:
Vibrantly colored creatures from the depths of the South Pacific Ocean harbor toxins that potentially can act as powerful anti-cancer drugs, according to research findings from University of Wisconsin-Madison biochemists and their Italian colleagues.

Simple marine organisms provide a promising source of natural anti-tumor compounds. Recent structural and functional studies reveal that many toxic marine macrolides utilize a common strategy for interacting with actin in the cytoskeleton of cancer cells. This provides constraints for the design of new pharmacological agents. (Art: H. Adam Steinberg; Nudibranch photo: Gary Cobb, Deep sea sponge, Reidispongia coerule)

MADISON - Vibrantly colored creatures from the depths of the SouthPacific Ocean harbor toxins that potentially can act as powerfulanti-cancer drugs, according to research findings from University ofWisconsin-Madison biochemists and their Italian colleagues.

The research team has defined the structure of the toxins andprovided a basic understanding that can be used to synthesizepharmaceuticals, according to a study published this week in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"We've determined how this class of toxins interacts withactin," an important protein responsible for cellular structure andmovement, says Ivan Rayment, a professor of biochemistry in the Collegeof Agricultural and Life Sciences who worked with John Allingham, apostdoctoral fellow, on the study. "We're adding to fundamentalunderstanding which will be taken up by others to simplify chemicalsynthesis of what could potentially be powerful cancer treatments."

The toxins, which are produced naturally by organisms that existsymbiotically on deep-sea sponges, work by disrupting the activity ofactin, an abundant protein that gives structure to eukaryotic cells.

"Actin forms long chains, or filaments, that are essential for cellularlocomotion, division and growth," explains Allingham. "Because cancercell masses grow faster than other cells in the body, actin provides anexcellent target for drugs that could inhibit such rapid growth."

Adds Allingham: "These marine toxins can knock out the lynchpins inthese long chains or cap their ends and kill cancer cells. Moreover,initial work shows that even a low dose of these toxins can bring asignificant response."

Prior to the study published in PNAS, it was known that the marinetoxins affect several forms of cancer - but not how they worked, saysRayment. The recent findings will enable the toxins to be synthesizedin a lab instead of harvested from the depths of the ocean floor,meaning that the drugs can be engineered to be as effective as possible.

"In order to chemically synthesize a better drug, it is a good idea toknow how the natural compound works," he says. "Scientists who studynatural products take their cues from what nature has already done.We're adding deep biochemical meaning to this area."

He adds that synthetic chemists hope that actin-based drugsmight one day rival the success of Taxol, a powerful drug derived froma natural product that keeps breast-cancer cells from dividing.

"Actin-based drugs have not yet been used as successful drugsas have those that target microtubules, like Taxol, in part because wehaven't understood how to target actin," Rayment explains.

###

Rayment and Allingham collaborated with Angela Zampella and MariaValeria D'Auria at the Universita degli Studi di Napoli in Naples,Italy. The work was supported in part by a Canadian Institutes ofHealth Research Fellowship, a grant from the National Institutes ofHealth and the state of Wisconsin.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Wisconsin-Madison. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Structures Of Marine Toxins Provide Insight Into Their Effectiveness As Cancer Drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050928235259.htm>.
University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2005, September 29). Structures Of Marine Toxins Provide Insight Into Their Effectiveness As Cancer Drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050928235259.htm
University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Structures Of Marine Toxins Provide Insight Into Their Effectiveness As Cancer Drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050928235259.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins