Tag: Protein Function

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.

Opening the primary mouth with Wnt antagonists

May 4, 2009

Whitehead researchers have identified a novel mechanism that operates during formation of the “primary mouth”, the first opening between the outside of the embryo and the intestine.

Redefining what it means to be a prion

April 2, 2009

Whitehead Institute researchers have found a large number of new prions, greatly expanding scientists’ notion of how important prions might be in normal biology and demonstrating that they play many and varied roles in the inheritance of biological traits.

Cell pathway on overdrive prevents cancer response to dietary restriction

March 11, 2009

Whitehead Institute researchers have pinpointed a cellular pathway that determines whether cancerous tumors are susceptible to dietary restriction during their development. When this pathway, known as PI3K is permanently turned “on” via mutation, tumors grow and proliferate independent of the amount of food consumed. However, when the PI3K pathway operates normally, tumors respond to dietary restriction—defined as food consumption limited to 60% of normal--and become smaller in size.

Schematic of a general signalling pathway

Calculating gene and protein connections in a Parkinson’s model

February 22, 2009

Researchers have created an algorithm that meshes existing data to produce a clearer step-by-step flow chart of how cells respond to stimuli. Using this new method, Whitehead Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists have analyzed alpha-synuclein toxicity to identify genes and pathways that can affect cell survival. Misfolded copies of the alpha-synuclein protein in brain cells are a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease.

Photos of healthy greater wax moths and those killed by fungus

The Hsp90-antifungal combo, please: Compromising fungi in the immunocompromised

February 9, 2009

Even the most drug-resistant fungi can be eradicated in multiple in vitro and in vivo models using a lethal combination of an antifungal agent and inhibition of a specific heat shock protein (Hsp90). Such findings could point to a novel approach for the development of future antifungal therapies for patients with compromised immune systems, including HIV, chemotherapy, and organ transfer patients.

Slides of prostate cells

Preventing prostate cancer the complex way

February 2, 2009

Blocking a specific protein complex (mTORC2) prevents prostate tumor formation in mice with a deleted PTEN gene. Inhibition of this complex in normal prostate cells, however, appears to have no effect, suggesting that the protein complex may be a future target for drug development.

Doing the math for membranes

December 4, 2008

A new quantitative model accurately predicts the three-dimensional forces involved in creating and maintaining certain biological membranes.

New clue emerges for cellular damage in Huntington’s disease

November 17, 2008

Huntington’s disease is caused by misfolded and clumped proteins that interfere with the cell’s protein quality control, which may lead to cellular toxicity and eventually cell death.

How cells size up their growth opportunities

May 22, 2008

Improved understanding of this nutrient-sensing pathway may aid in developing therapies for cancer and diabetes.

Photo of Arabidopsis thaliana

Shocking evolution into action

February 18, 2008

One heat shock protein affects the expression of many complex traits genes, which may contribute to rapid evolutionary change.

Scanning electron microscope image of red blood cells

Human blood stem cells are multiplied 20-fold in culture

January 17, 2008

Advance offers promise for bone marrow transplants, gene therapy.

Pages

© Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research              455 Main Street          Cambridge, MA 02142