Tag: Protein Function

Scientists discover new component of key growth-regulating signaling pathway

June 10, 2011

Researchers in the lab of Whitehead Institute Member David Sabatini have identified a previously unknown substrate of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase, called Grb10. Linking Grb10 activity to mTOR provides a more detailed understanding of the function of mTOR and may open up new areas for mTOR research.

Leucine deprivation proves deadly to malignant melanoma cells

May 16, 2011

Whitehead Institute researchers have found that depriving human melanoma cells of the amino acid leucine can be lethal to the cells, suggesting a possible strategy for therapeutic intervention. The researchers observed the effect in melanoma cells with a mutation in the RAS/MEK signaling pathway—the most common mutation found in the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Two unsuspected proteins may hold the key to creating artificial chromosomes

April 28, 2011

Whitehead Institute scientists report that two proteins once thought to have only supporting roles, are the true “stars” of the kinetochore assembly process in human cells.

Heat shock protein drives yeast evolution

December 23, 2010

Whitehead Institute researchers have determined that heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) can create diverse heritable traits in brewer’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) by affecting a large portion of the yeast genome.

Mammalian aging process linked to overactive cellular pathway

December 22, 2010

Whitehead Institute researchers have linked hyperactivity in the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) cellular pathway to reduced ketone production in the liver, which is a well-defined physiological trait of aging in mice.

Protein that predicts prognosis of leukemia patients may also be a therapeutic target

July 8, 2010

Researchers at Whitehead Institute and Children’s Hospital Boston have identified a protein, called Musashi 2, that is predictive of prognosis in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients. High levels of Musashi 2 protein is associated with increased cell proliferation, decreased cell maturation, and multiple cancer-related cellular pathways in human leukemias.

Microscope image of the transitional phase of yeast prions

A different tune: cellular IPOD plays role in prion biology

April 26, 2010

According to Whitehead Institute researchers, cells take advantage of a biologically ancient compartment to sequester prions, an action that can initially prevent the prions’ phenotypic expression. While in this compartment, less stably heritable prion plaques also mature to a more transmissible state.

Yeast overproducing alpha-synuclein

Small molecules found to protect cells in multiple models of Parkinson’s disease

December 28, 2009

Several structurally similar small molecules appear capable of protecting cells from alpha-synuclein toxicity, a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease, according to Whitehead Institute researchers.

Karyotype of cell with only one copy of each chromosome, except chromosome 8

Knockouts in human cells point to pathogenic targets

November 26, 2009

Whitehead Institute researchers have developed a new approach for genetics in human cells and used this technique to identify specific genes and proteins required for pathogens.

Schematic of YOD1's role

Jamming cell’s protein disposal shows how system works

October 26, 2009

Whitehead Institute scientists have determined that a protein known as YOD1 plays a critical role in the disposal of misfolded cellular proteins. The researchers identified YOD1’s role by blocking its function, a manipulation that halts the elimination of errant proteins entirely. The finding should help bring greater understanding to this vital but complex cellular process.

Gene mutation alone causes transmissible prion disease

August 26, 2009

Whitehead Institute researchers have shown definitively that mutations associated with prion diseases are sufficient to cause a transmissible neurodegenerative disease. Deciphering the origins of prion diseases could help farmers and policy-makers determine how best to control a prion disease outbreak in livestock and to prevent prion transmission to humans.

Multiple myeloma cells get what they want

May 27, 2009

Researchers at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have identified a protein in multiple myeloma cells, called DEPTOR, that indirectly activates a signaling pathway commonly turned on in cancer cells. Known as the PI3K/PTEN/Akt pathway, this signaling pathway controls cell survival, and when altered, keeps cancer cells from dying.

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