Authors: Emily Brown, Future Science Group
A protein pair joined together by a chromosomal translocation has recently been demonstrated to assist in the promotion of growth and spread of an oral cancer of the salivary glands. The research, conducted by members of The Scripps Research Institute (FL, USA), was published online recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“This research provides new insights into the molecular mechanisms of these malignances and points to a new direction for potential therapies,” commented Michael Conkright of The Scripps Research Institute, leader of the study.
The research demonstrates that two proteins termed CRTC1 and MAML2 can be joined when the genes encoding them mutate to form a single gene, the product of which is a single fusion protein termed CRTC1/MAML2 (C1/M2). Furthermore, the research indicates that this fusion protein works in partnership with MYC in order to activate genetic pathways to promote cellular changes, which can in turn lead to the development of mucoepidermoid carcinoma.
“The identification of unique interactions between C1/M2 and MYC suggests that drugs capable of disrupting these interactions may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of mucoepidermoid carcinomas,” explained Antonio L Amelio, first author of the study who is now assistant professor with the UNC School of Dentistry and member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (NC, USA).
Work performed prior to this investigation established the link between C1/M2 and a protein termed CREB in the development of mucoepidermoid carcinoma, and led to physicians screening patients for the presence of the C1/M2 protein when testing for this malignancy.
These conclusion that C1/M2 interacts with the cancer-associated genes of the MYC family to help drive tumor growth may help in the development of targeted therapies for this oral cancer.