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Archive - Jun 27, 2009

Protein Targets Tumor Suppressor p53 for Destruction

Researchers at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center have identified a protein (Trim24) that attaches ubiquitin molecules to p53 and thus targets the tumor suppressor for destruction in the proteasome. Experiments showed that decreased levels of Trim24 led to increased levels of p53 expression in the cell nucleus, and increasing Trim24 expression reduced p53 levels. Loss of Trim24 expression in a breast cancer cell line caused spontaneous programmed cell death (apoptosis). A similar response was confirmed in human lung, colon, and prostate cancer cells. “Targeting Trim24 may offer a therapeutic approach to restoring p53 and killing tumor cells," said Dr. Michelle Barton, senior author of the report, which appeared in the online edition of PNAS on June 25. [Press release] [PNAS abstract]