Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Acrobatic motor protein could pave way for new cancer therapies

Date:
March 26, 2014
Source:
University of Warwick
Summary:
For the first time, researchers have shown how a protein motor, Kif15, uses acrobatic flexibility to navigate within the mitotic spindle. Understanding how it works could prove vital for the development of targeted cancer therapies. The study describes the behavior of Kif15 for the first time and provides a breakthrough step towards understanding the role it plays in cell division.

Researchers at Warwick Medical School have shown for the first time how a protein motor, Kif15, uses acrobatic flexibility to navigate within the mitotic spindle. Understanding how it works could prove vital for the development of targeted cancer therapies.

The new study, published in eLife, describes the behavior of Kif15 for the first time and provides a breakthrough step towards understanding the role it plays in cell division.

Many frontline cancer drugs target microtubules, the molecular cables that are used to build the mitotic spindle -- the protein machine that drives equal separation of chromosomes during mitosis.

By breaking these microtubules, the uncontrolled multiplication of cancerous cells can be stopped. However, cells can become resistant to such drugs and as a result researchers are developing a new class of drug that targets the molecular motors -- tiny protein machines that consume chemical fuel to walk along microtubules, move them around and organize them into the spindle.

One of these molecular motors, Kif11, is a key target for these drugs. Yet when Kif11 is inhibited, it is shown that cells are able to adapt and a second motor, Kif15, picks up some of the workload and enables the continuation of mitosis.

Previous research established that Kif11 is different to other kinesin protein motors, being referred to as a 'dumbbell' on account of having four limbs: allowing it to walk on microtubules and bind two microtubules together. During mitosis it slides these microtubules apart, a key process in cell division. The McAinsh lab at Warwick Medical School have now shown that Kif15 shares this four-limbed property, although it does not appear to be able to slide microtubules apart.

Dr McAinsh, said, "It's fascinating to see that Kif15 is also a dumbbell shape -- but even more interesting are the differences between the two."

"Kif15 can actually switch between microtubules at intersecting points and therefore might be able to circumvent roadblocks or avoid traffic jams caused by other motors. It's the first motor protein we've seen using such a feature."

"We think that Kif15 switches between microtubules by using its additional two limbs: Where it encounters a track that it wants to move onto, it contorts and uses its two not yet attached limbs to grip the new track. In the most basic sense it starts to walk on its hands in a manner not too dissimilar to a circus acrobat."

Along with the ability to easily navigate the spindle, it also moves along microtubules some seven and half times quicker than Kif11 -- at 150nm/s (nanometres per second) rather than 20nm/s.

Now that the team have identified how Kif15 behaves, it is hoped that it will allow for further understanding of the role that it plays in supporting cell division.

Dr McAinsh explained, "A greater knowledge of this protein motor will open the door to developing targeted therapies that can work towards simultaneously restricting both Kif11 and Kif15."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Hauke Drechsler, Toni McHugh, Martin R Singleton, Nicholas J Carter, Andrew D McAinsh. The Kinesin-12 Kif15 is a processive track-switching tetramer. eLife, March 2014 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.01724.004

Cite This Page:

University of Warwick. "Acrobatic motor protein could pave way for new cancer therapies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140326114516.htm>.
University of Warwick. (2014, March 26). Acrobatic motor protein could pave way for new cancer therapies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140326114516.htm
University of Warwick. "Acrobatic motor protein could pave way for new cancer therapies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140326114516.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) — A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) — New England farms are seeing a surge in younger farm hands as the 'buy local' food movement grows across the country. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. 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