Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Key Protein That May Cause Cancer Cell Death Identified

Date:
January 20, 2009
Source:
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Summary:
A human protein called Bax-beta (Bax²), which can potentially cause the death of cancer cells and lead to new approaches in cancer treatment, has been identified and characterized.

Researchers at A*STAR's Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) have become the first to discover and characterize a human protein called Bax-beta (Baxβ), which can potentially cause the death of cancer cells and lead to new approaches in cancer treatment.

Related Articles


Detection of Baxβ has eluded scientists until now. Said Dr Victor Yu, principal investigator of the IMCB research team, "Our research findings reveal that Baxβ protein levels are normally kept at essentially undetectable levels in healthy cells by the protein degradation machine in cells known as proteasomes.

Proteasomes are "protein-digesting machines" that regulate cellular levels of various proteins including that of the lethal Baxβ, by breaking them into smaller components within the cell.

"Thus, the proteasomes are there to keep the lethal Baxβ in check," he added. "This is exciting — if the proteasome-mediated degradation of Baxβ could be inhibited specifically in cancer cells, it could cause the harmful cancer cells to go through apoptosis". In apoptosis, unwanted, damaged and infected cells are eliminated.

Until the discovery of Baxβ by Dr. Yu's team, only one single protein called Bax-alpha (Baxα) had been extensively studied in cells. Earlier evidence had suggested that more than one protein was encoded by the Bax gene.

However, only a single protein called Baxα had ever been detected and extensively studied in cells. Bax is known to be a key gene needed for the execution step of apoptosis, or programmed cell death.

The researchers also found that Baxβ is able to associate with, and promote, Baxα activation, and that Baxβ, in its native form, is 100 times more potent than its sibling Baxα in triggering a key step in apoptosis.

The future development of novel compounds that can selectively elevate levels of Baxβ or stimulate its interaction with Baxα could also lead to new drug approaches to cancer treatment, as these compounds are likely to enhance the apoptotic signals triggered by many conventional cancer drugs, which frequently cause toxic side effects in patients when higher doses of drugs are needed.

Dr. David Andrews, Professor of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University, Canada added, "The beta-isoform4 of Bax has been enigmatic for several years. Although earlier research had hinted at its existence, the protein has proven extremely difficult to detect or examine functionally. Even attempts to produce the protein in the laboratory have been largely unsuccessful. In this study the Yu group resolves these issues by demonstrating that in cells Baxβ is normally rapidly degraded and kept at low levels, and when it is not degraded, it is profoundly apoptotic on its own and works in concert with Baxα. These studies provide information necessary for the elucidation of the importance of Baxβ in cell physiology."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fu et al. Baxβ: A Constitutively Active Human Bax Isoform that Is under Tight Regulatory Control by the Proteasomal Degradation Mechanism. Molecular Cell, 2009; 33 (1): 15 DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2008.11.025

Cite This Page:

Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. "Key Protein That May Cause Cancer Cell Death Identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090116164055.htm>.
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. (2009, January 20). Key Protein That May Cause Cancer Cell Death Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090116164055.htm
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. "Key Protein That May Cause Cancer Cell Death Identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090116164055.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — Bupa is hoping to expand in India&apos;s fast-growing health insurance market, once a rule change on foreign investment is implemented. The British private healthcare group&apos;s CEO tells Grace Pascoe why it&apos;s so keen on the new opportunity. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — Mobile apps are turning smartphones into a personal doctors, with users able to measure heart rate, blood pressure and even blood sugar. But will it change our behaviour? Ivor Bennett reports from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) — AbbVie announced Wednesday it will buy cancer drugmaker Pharmacyclics in a $21 billion deal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) — Researchers found adults only get the flu about once every five years. Scientists analyzed how a person&apos;s immunity builds up over time as well. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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