According to a latest research performed by Northwestern Medicine researchers, a toxin produced by Vibrio vulnificus, a water and food borne bacteria that can lead to quickly lethal infections in individuals with liver disease, has possibilities to prevent the development of tumors.
Northwestern University professor in microbiology-immunology kerla Satchell and her team shown in a paper in Nature Communications, that a multifunctional-autoprocessing repeats-in-toxin (MARTX) protein from Vibrio vulnificus can restrict tumor cell development by decreasing the Ras protein. Ras is core to cell division and surviving, and mutations in the gene that codes for protein Ras are a frequent cause of human malignancies.
Ras is essential for cell growth in cancer, so the toxin could most likely be developed as a therapy for various types of tumors. It has been identified that Ras has a role in cancer growth and focusing on Ras has been one of the toughest challenges of cancer investigation and drug discovery.
Ras also performs a function in finding pathogens and initiating an immune reaction. The bacterium makes use of the MARTX toxin protein to inactivate Ras, escalating its own virulence and enabling it to spread all over the host.
They applied cell biological, genetic and biochemical methods to demonstrate how a toxin particular part, an effector domain called DUF5Vv, focuses and cleaves Ras. Satchell’s team also disclosed the capability of this domain to cut both normal and mutant types of Ras generally identified in cancers.
Satchell concluded by saying:
What is interesting about this study is the capability of the toxin to cut Ras, instead of modifies it, which is a new mechanism for inactivating Ras.
The researchers plan to keep on studying the mechanisms and biochemistry of the MARTX toxin specificity to the Ras protein.