Tag: Protein Function

Image of GATOR1's location in cells where it is functional and nonfunctional

Protein complex in key cell-growth pathway could help predict response to cancer therapy

May 30, 2013

Whitehead Institute researchers have identified a protein complex that, when mutated, sends the master growth regulatory pathway known as mTORC1 into overdrive. Researchers believe that mutations in this complex could serve as biomarkers to predict response to rapamycin treatment in cancer patients.

Diagram comparing enhancers and super-enhancers of two cell types

Genetic master controls expose cancers’ Achilles’ heel

April 11, 2013

In a surprising finding that helps explain fundamental behaviors of normal and diseased cells, Whitehead Institute scientists have discovered a set of powerful gene regulators dubbed “super-enhancers” that control cell state and identity.

Model for a function for Mot3 prion switching in teh repiro-fermentative cycle of wine yeasts

Protective prion keeps yeast cells from going it alone

March 28, 2013

A team of scientists from Whitehead Institute and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has added markedly to the job description of prions as agents of change, identifying a prion capable of triggering a transition in yeast from its conventional single-celled form to a cooperative, multicellular structure. This change, which appears to improve yeast’s chances for survival in the face of hostile environmental conditions, is an epigenetic phenomenon—a heritable alteration brought about without any change to the organism’s underlying genome.

Image of autophage markers in cells with and without RagA activated

Nutrient-sensing enzymes key to starvation response and survival in newborn mammals

December 23, 2012

One enzyme, RagA, has been found to regulate the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway in cells according to glucose and amino acid availability. When this regulation breaks down in fasting newborn mice, the animals suffer a nutritional crisis and die.

Graphical explanation of MCT1's role in 3-BrPA's uptake by some cancer cells

Cell surface transporters exploited for cancer drug delivery

December 2, 2012

According to Whitehead Institute researchers, a protein known as monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1), which is highly expressed in a subset of metabolically altered cancer cells, is needed for the entry of the investigational cancer drug 3-bromopyruvate (3-BrPA) into malignant cells.

Cartoon of cyclin D3's role

Protein found to regulate red blood cell size and number

August 28, 2012

By examining the results of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in conjunction with experiments on mouse and human red blood cells (RBCs), researchers in the lab of Whitehead Institute Founding Member Harvey Lodish have identified the protein cyclin D3 as regulating the number of cell divisions RBC progenitors undergo, which ultimately affects the resulting size and quantity of RBCs.

Microscope images of samples extracted from cancer tumors and adjacent tissues

Heat-shock factor reveals its unique role in supporting highly malignant cancers

August 2, 2012

Whitehead Institute researchers have found that an ancient, highly conserved cell survival factor drives expression of a specific set of genes that is strongly associated with metastasis and death in patients with breast, colon, and lung cancers.

Model of eukaryotic argonaute protein

Structure of RNAi complex now crystal clear

June 20, 2012

Researchers at Whitehead Institute and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have defined and analyzed the crystal structure of a yeast Argonaute protein bound to RNA.

Schematic diagram of the Hsp90 protein.

Breast cancer clinical trial to test combination of heat shock protein inhibitor and hormonal therapy

May 22, 2012

A clinical trial involving collaboration between researchers at Whitehead Institute and Dana Farber Cancer Institute is now enrolling patients with recurrent or metastatic estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer.

Image:  Computer-generated model of mTORC1

On the path to age-defying therapies

March 29, 2012

By teasing apart rapamycin’s activity at the cellular level, researchers at Whitehead Institute and the University of Pennsylvania have determined that inhibiting only the protein cluster known as the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) prolongs life in mice without adversely affecting glucose tolerance or insulin sensitivity.

Image: Yeast with prions grow better than those without when challenged with an antifungal drug

Prions play powerful role in the survival and evolution of wild yeast strains

February 15, 2012

In a massive undertaking, Whitehead Institute scientists have tested nearly 700 wild yeast strains isolated from diverse environments for the presence of known and unknown prion elements, finding them in one third of all strains. All the prions appear capable of creating diverse new traits, nearly half of which are beneficial.

Diagram of how chromosomes are aligned

A mitosis mystery solved: how chromosomes align perfectly in a dividing cell

February 12, 2012

Although the process of mitotic cell division has been studied intensely for more than 50 years, Whitehead Institute researchers have only now solved the mystery of how cells correctly align their chromosomes during symmetric mitosis. 

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