July 18, 2011

Compound Blocks Cancer-Causing Protein

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Researchers have developed a compound that blocks signaling from a protein implicated in many types of cancer.

The investigators examined signaling by receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK). Abnormal RTK signaling is an underlying cause of various developmental disorders and diseases, including cancer.

The researchers say RTK signaling pathway employs interactions between the proteins known as Sos and Ras and accounts for a wide range of molecular changes that are involved in various cancers and other diseases. They say disrupting the Sos-Ras interaction is crucial to stemming the production of cancer cells.

Interactions between large protein molecules such as Sos and Ras have been difficult to accomplish with artificial means. The scientists thought that by mimicking a key portion of Sos, they might disrupt its interactions with Ras. They observed that Sos activates Ras through a helix -- a critical portion of Sos that makes contact with Ras.

The researchers say synthetic Sos may offer a lead for the creation of pharmaceuticals that can block Sos-Ras interaction.

SOURCE: Nature Chemical Biology, July, 2011