Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING
PZ HTL SA

New Chemotherapeutic Approach Will Selectively Starve Cancer Cells

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 21 Jul 2013
Blocking the activity of the enzyme eukaryotic elongation factor 2 kinase (eEF2K), which is found in cancer cells but not in normal cells, prevents tumors from adapting to nutrient deprivation and may represent a new chemotherapeutic approach.

The eEF2K enzyme is an essential factor for protein synthesis. It promotes the GTP-dependent translocation of the growing protein chain from the A-site to the P-site of the ribosome. This protein is completely inactivated by EF2 kinase phosphorylation.

EEF2K, which is activated by AMP-kinase (AMPK), has been shown to confer cell survival under acute nutrient depletion by blocking translation elongation. It is expressed in a number of tissues, including the liver, brain, and skeletal muscle. The net effect of AMPK activation is stimulation of hepatic fatty acid oxidation and ketogenesis, inhibition of cholesterol synthesis, lipogenesis, and triglyceride synthesis, inhibition of adipocyte lipolysis and lipogenesis, stimulation of skeletal muscle fatty acid oxidation and muscle glucose uptake, and modulation of insulin secretion by pancreatic beta cells.

Investigators at the University of Southampton (United Kingdom) reported in the May 23, 2013, issue of the journal Cell that tumor cells exploit the AMPK-eEF2K pathway to adapt to nutrient deprivation. Adaptation of cancer cells to nutrient withdrawal was found to be severely compromised in cells lacking eEF2K. Moreover, eEF2K knockdown restored sensitivity to acute nutrient deprivation in highly resistant human tumor cell lines. In vivo, overexpression of eEF2K rendered murine tumors remarkably resistant to caloric restriction. Expression of eEF2K strongly correlated with overall survival in human medulloblastoma and glioblastoma multiforme.

Contributing author Dr. Christopher G. Proud, professor of biological sciences at the University of Southampton said, "Cancer cells grow and divide much more rapidly than normal cells, meaning they have a much higher demand for and are often starved of, nutrients and oxygen. We have discovered that a cellular component, eEF2K, plays a critical role in allowing cancer cells to survive nutrient starvation, whilst normal, healthy cells do not usually require eEF2K in order to survive. Therefore, by blocking the function of eEF2K, we should be able to kill cancer cells, without harming normal, healthy cells in the process."

"Protein synthesis – the creation of proteins within cells –is a fundamental process that enables cells to grow, divide, and function," said Dr. Proud. "If it goes wrong, it can contribute to the development of cancer. We are interested in how defects in this process can cause cancers and other diseases."

Related Links:

University of Southampton



Channels

Drug Discovery

view channel
Image: Chitosan is derived from the shells of shrimp and other sea crustaceans, including Alaskan pink shrimp, pictured here (Photo courtesy of NOAA - [US] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

Chitosan Treatment Clears the Way for Antibiotics to Eliminate Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections

Recurrent urinary tract infection was successfully resolved in a mouse model by treatment with the exfoliant chitosan followed by a round of antibiotics. Bacterial urinary tract infection (UTI), most... Read more

Biochemistry

view channel

Mitochondrial Cause of Aging Can Be Reversed

Researchers have found a cause of aging in lab animals that can be reversed, possibly providing an avenue for new treatments for age-related diseases including type 2 diabetes, cancer, muscle wasting, and inflammatory diseases. The researchers plan to begin human trials late 2014. The study, which was published December... Read more

Therapeutics

view channel

Cytokine Identified That Causes Mucositis in Cancer Therapy Patients

The action of the cytokine interleukin 1-beta (IL-1beta) has been found to underlie the onset of mucositis, a common, severe side effect of chemotherapy and irradiation of cancer patients. Mucositis occurs as a result of cell death in reaction to chemo- or radiotherapy. The mucosal lining of the mouth becomes thin, may... Read more

Business

view channel

Analytical Sciences Trade Fair Declared a Rousing Success

Organizers of this year's 24th "analytica" biosciences trade fair have reported significant increases in both the number of visitors and exhibitors compared to the 2012 event. The analytica trade fair for laboratory technology, analysis, and biotechnology has been held at the Munich (Germany) Trade Fair Center every... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.