London, Jan 4 (ANI): Scientists at The University of Texas have discovered a protein that arrests an enzyme that may worsen and spread cancer.
They also found that the same deactivation of the enzyme called EZH2 is necessary for the formation of bone-forming cells from the stem cells that make them and other tissues.
"EZH2 is overexpressed in aggressive solid tumours and tied to cancer progression and metastasis," said Mien-Chie Hung.
"We have found that another protein, CDK1, deactivates EZH2," Hung said.
The findings could pave way for developing an EZH2 inhibitor or a drug that mimics the protein that deactivates it as new cancer drugs.
EZH2 plays an important normal role in a variety of biological processes.
"EZH2 is crucial to embryonic development because it turns genes off and on to guide the differentiation of embryonic stem cells into tissues and organs," Hung said.
"This and other recently reported studies open up drug development possibilities by either inhibiting the methyltransferase activity of EZH2 or regulating phosphorylation to indirectly regulate EZH2's activity," Hung said.
"This study also suggests a possible way to induce mesenchymal stem cell differentiation into bone cells, which may have long-term implications for regenerative medicine for bone disease," Hung added.
This study is published in the January issue of Nature Cell Biology.(ANI)