- A team of researchers has come up with an artificial protein that may block malignant properties of cancer cells as well as correct certain birth defects.
- The findings may lead to identifying new molecular targets suitable for therapeutic intervention. Cells in the human body need to communicate with each other to function properly.
- This is accomplished by a molecular mechanism called signal transduction and its dysregulation leads to human disease. A group of molecules called G proteins act as a signalling mechanism that enables cells to change their behaviour when they are activated by surface receptors.
- The G proteins can be activated via alternative mechanisms independent of surface receptors that also impact normal cell behaviour and pathogenesis.
- Unfortunately, there are no efficient tools to investigate these alternative G protein activators and learn how to tackle their aberrant behaviour in disease, until now.
- The Researcher have engineered an artificial protein that when expressed in cells can specifically blunt receptor-independent G protein activation and subsequent changes in cell behaviour.
- The implementation to block malignant properties of cancer cells and to correct birth defects associated with the aberrant dysregulation of cellular communication, explained corresponding author Mikel Garcia-Marcos from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM).
- Garcia-Marcos noted that although the clinical implications for this discovery are indirect – since the engineered protein cannot be delivered to patients – it does represent a significant advance in the identification of a new class of molecular targets in cancer or neonatal malformations.