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HHMI News: Kidney Cancer Shuts Down Protein Destruction Complex
By Dross at 2007-05-21 22:20
HHMI News: Kidney Cancer Shuts Down Protein Destruction Complex

Kidney Cancer Shuts Down Protein Destruction Complex

 

New evidence shows that Wilms tumor - a rare kidney cancer that affects children - promotes its own growth agenda by taking over a genetic program used by normal cells during development. The studies demonstrate that Wilms tumor exploits the same signaling pathway that is targeted by colorectal cancer cells, but it goes about hijacking that pathway in an entirely different way. The finding suggests that drugs targeting this pathway may be effective against a variety of cancers.

Misguided Wnt signaling is now understood to be the culprit in a variety of cancers and other diseases. Normally, Wnt works closely with an intracellular foot soldier called β-catenin, to trigger changes within cells. In the absence of Wnt, β-catenin is actively degraded by a multi-protein destruction complex. When a cell detects Wnt that has been secreted from a nearby neighbor, however, that destruction complex is deactivated, and β-catenin is allowed to accumulate. As its level rises, it gets to work activating the expression of Wnt-target genes.



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