Dundee scientists discover cancer fight protein

Scientists at the University of Dundee believe the protein could help battle cancer. Picture: Jane Barlow
Scientists at the University of Dundee believe the protein could help battle cancer. Picture: Jane Barlow
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SCIENTISTS at Dundee University have identified a protein that could prove vital in the fight against cancer, it was revealed today.

Researchers at the university’s College of Life Sciences have demonstrated that cancer cells need a protein called Bod1 to grow and divide. And, when this protein is removed, cancer cells lose control of cell division and die.

The scientists have also discovered that Bod1 works by controlling the activity of an important cellular regulator called PP2A. While it is well known that PP2A plays a crucial role in cell division, how its activity is controlled has been a mystery.

The new findings reveal how PP2A is regulated and suggest a new approach for killing cancer cells might involve interrupting the interaction between Bod1 and PP2A.

The research is published in the journal “Nature Communications.”

Professor Jason Swedlow, senior author on the study, said: “This is an exciting discovery of a new mechanism for controlling how cells replicate and divide their genome. We know that Bod1 controls the activity of a critical regulator of cell division. We will definitely have fun in our next projects defining its potential as a cancer therapeutic.”

Dr Iain Porter, who led the study, said: “Bod1 is an incredible molecule that joins a growing family of proteins that regulate how PP2A works at specific points in the life cycle of a cell. Our future work will dissect the roles of these proteins and how they control fundamental processes of cell biology.”