A protein that regulates cell division also has an essential role in switching genes on / off, researchers have identified, in a discovery which could change cancer treatment.
The protein phosphatase, Repo-Man is one of a clutch of essential proteins in cell division, an important process that goes into overdrive in cancer.
Now investigators at Brunel University London have identified Repo-Man is also essential in handling mechanisms that switch genes on or off after cells divide.
The research, in Nature Communications, is the initial to flag up Repo-Man as an epigenetic regulator.
Brunel University’s Dr. Paola Vagnarelli said,
“This is a different component of the epigenetic landscape that individuals have never considered.” It may open up fresh lines of attack on aggressive hard to treat cancers like as Triple Negative Breast Cancer, or Melanoma.
“In 2016 we revealed the structure of Repo-Man, but no one knew before how this specific enzyme was engaged in gene regulation. Now we know the biology, how and why it is significant, how it functions along with its structure, consequently we can focus on various areas of its activity. This opens up many more doors for cancer therapy.”
“The study also shows us that we can interfere with Repo-Man’s capability to bind to the DNA, which could assist us block its function,” said Dr Vagnarelli. “It’s a big thing for this area, now we require more financial commitment to engage in more work in this direction.