“Transformer” Proteins with Role in Cancer
Click Image To Enlarge +New research on the physics of protein disorder and folding could one day also be used for better designs of therapeutics. [iStock/jessicaphoto]
Investigators at the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital say they have found how a protein involved in cancer twists and morphs into different structures.
“We’re studying basic biophysics, but we believe the complexity and rules we uncover for the physics of protein disorder and folding could one day also be used for better designs of therapeutics,” said Ashok Deniz, Ph.D., associate professor at TSRI.
The study (“Asymmetric Modulation of Protein Order-Disorder Transitions by Phosphorylation and Partner Binding”), published in Angewandte Chemie, focuses on the nucleophosmin (NPM1) protein, which has many functions and, when mutated, has been shown to interfere with cells’ normal tumor suppressing ability. NPM1 has been implicated in cancers such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma and acute myelogenous leukemia.