Cancer Cell Research20.02.2020

Give fighters the freedom to control crises

To win a battle against a crisis, it is important that central command gives the fighters on the battlefield the freedom to control the crisis. A research group led by Prof. Zhihong Yang at the University of Fribourg have been able to demonstrate this principle in human tumour (melanoma) cell growth.

In the human body, malignant melanoma cell growth is accelerated by an enzyme called AKT if it is overactivated in the cell nucleus. This corresponds to a crisis. A cancer suppressor called PTEN, acting as a fighter, is restricted by the molecule known as myosin 1b (MYO1B) in the cytoplasm.

Controlling central command
If given freedom by decreasing MYO1B (central command), the PTEN fighter enters the nucleus (battlefield) to inactivate AKT. This leads to melanoma cell death and thus controls the crisis. The Fribourg research group are the first to succeed in proving the impact of decreasing MYO1B.

A possible benefit for anti-cancer therapy
These results contribute new insight into the understanding of human melanoma cell growth/development and suggest that drugs that inhibit MYO1B could be beneficial in anti-cancer therapy.

These results were published in autumn 2019 in iScience, an interdisciplinary open access scientific journal published by CellPress.