Breast cancer gene needs protein partner to grow

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A gene responsible for breast cancer metastasis requires interaction with a second protein, according to recent research.

Metadherin, or MTDH, plays a part in both initial breast cancer tumor formation and later bodily progression. Study authors based in Princeton University, New Jersey, examined mice that were genetically modified to lack the MTDH gene and found that normal development/life is possible without MTDH. In addition, test rodents engineered to develop breast cancer that lacked the MTDH gene developed far less tumors. Additiona experimentation demonstrated that only when MTDH is bound to its partner protein, SND1, are metastasis and tumor growth triggered.

Breast cancer gene needs protein partner to grow
Breast cancer gene needs protein partner to grow

A study led by Princeton University researchers has revealed that the gene Metadherin— which is implicated in promoting the spread of breast cancer tumors— only stimulates tumor growth when the protein made by the gene interacts with a second protein known as SND1.

The researchers report in the journal Cancer Cellthat Metadherin, or MTDH, also plays a role in the initial growth of tumors, which occurs much earlier than the gene's role in metastasis of the cancer to other parts of the body. In addition, the gene was not necessary for normal cell growth and development in mice, indicating that therapeutics that target this gene are likely to have a good safety profile, the researchers report.

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