In a recent study published in Nature Communications, a team led by Dr. Peter Mace of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Otago revealed the three-dimensional structure of proteins that control DNA packaging in humans, BAP1 and ASXL1. DNA is often wrapped around proteins and packaged into highly efficient stores to control which genes are active. Many proteins help complete this packaging process, and once a component of these proteins is disturbed, it is possible to produce a tumor.
Dr. Mace said mutations in these proteins are found in many tumors, such as melanoma, mesothelioma, kidney cancer, and leukemia. BAP1 mutations are particularly common in mesotheliomas, which are rare in the population and are caused by exposure to asbestos and are very difficult to treat. These new structures will help us understand how the two proteins work together to remove the DNA packaging markers in normal cells and how their function in tumors is disrupted.
“The next step will help us understand the changes in these networks during the development of the tumor,” Dr. Mace said. This is the first time the structure of these proteins has been captured. The researchers revealed the structure of the same protein in Drosophila, which is similar to the human protein of its kind, but its structure is a bit simpler. “This is the best model we have of how human proteins work.” Dr Mace explained. “The next step is to fully reveal the structure of human proteins.”
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Post time: Oct-30-2018