Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cancer turns out to be a p53 protein aggregation disease

Date:
March 29, 2011
Source:
VIB
Summary:
Protein aggregation, generally associated with Alzheimer's and mad cow disease, turns out to play a significant role in cancer. Certain mutations of p53 cause the protein to aggregate, disrupting its protective function, researchers have found.

p53 is crucial for protection against cancer, but mutation transforms this important tumor suppressor into a potent oncogene. This illustration by Jie Xu is an adaptation of 'Starry Night' by Vincent Van Gogh and shows depicts the catastrophic events following the self-assembly of p53 family members into cellular inclusions.
Credit: Image courtesy of VIB

Protein aggregation, generally associated with Alzheimer's and mad cow disease, turns out to play a significant role in cancer. In a paper published in Nature Chemical Biology, Frederic Rousseau and Joost Schymkowitz of VIB, K.U.Leuven and Vrije Universiteit Brussel describe that certain mutations of p53, an important tumor suppressor, cause the protein to misfold in a way that the proteins start to aggregate. This not only disrupts the protective function of normal p53, but of other related proteins as well.

p53 plays a central role in protection against cancer

In the study, the focus was on the p53 protein which plays a key role in protecting the body against cancer. If p53 works normally, it controls cell division. If p53 control ceases -- e.g. when there is a mutation in the protein -- the cells start to divide in an uncontrolled manner and this may result in a tumor. Mutations in p53 are observed in about half of cancer cases, making the protein an important target in the development of new cancer therapies.

Mutated p53 aggregates

"We have revealed a new mechanism for the action of mutant p53," Joost Schymkowitz and Frederic Rousseau of VIB, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and K.U. Leuven say. "Mutations in p53 cause the protein to lose its protective function. The proteins change in shape, hook into each other and begin to aggregate. The active p53 disappears from the cell and can no longer carry out its control function properly." The mechanism has been encountered in about one third of p53 mutations.

Complete switch of character

Moreover, the mutations cause p53 to assume a completely different character. From being a protective factor, the mutated p53 changes into a substance which in fact speeds up tumor growth. It seems to form aggregates with control substances (p63 and p73) in the cell, causing them to lose their function as well.

Other proteins underlying cancer and Alzheimer

Even though the underlying principle -- protein aggregation -- occurs similarly in particular cancers, Alzheimer and systemic amyloidosis, the diseases are otherwise totally unconnected with each other. In cancer, the clustering of p53 protein leads to uncontrolled cell growth. In Alzheimer, clustering of the beta-amyloid protein causes brain cells to die off.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by VIB. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jie Xu, Joke Reumers, José R Couceiro, Frederik De Smet, Rodrigo Gallardo, Stanislav Rudyak, Ann Cornelis, Jef Rozenski, Aleksandra Zwolinska, Jean-Christophe Marine, Diether Lambrechts, Young-Ah Suh, Frederic Rousseau, Joost Schymkowitz. Gain of function of mutant p53 by coaggregation with multiple tumor suppressors. Nature Chemical Biology, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.546

Cite This Page:

VIB. "Cancer turns out to be a p53 protein aggregation disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110329095912.htm>.
VIB. (2011, March 29). Cancer turns out to be a p53 protein aggregation disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110329095912.htm
VIB. "Cancer turns out to be a p53 protein aggregation disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110329095912.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) — An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

AFP (July 23, 2014) — America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th. Thousands turned out for a free clinic run by "Remote Area Medical" with a visit from the Governor of Virginia. Duration: 2:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. 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