Researchers from McGill University have made an exciting discovery about specific proteins involved in the spread of certain cancers.
Dr. Kalle Gehring, professor of biochemistry and founding director of the McGill Centre for Structural Biology, and his team have focused on unravelling the mystery around phosphatases of regenerating liver (PRLs). These proteins are found in all kinds of animals and insects — from humans to fruit flies – and play a unique role in the growth of cancerous tumours and the spread of cancer throughout the body.
“It’s important for us to study PRLs because they are so important in cancer,” said Gehring, “In some cancers, like metastatic colorectal cancer, the proteins are overexpressed up to 300-fold.”
This overexpression of PRLs makes cancer cells more metastatic and drives the spread to other organs.
In his most recent paper, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Gehring and his colleagues confirmed that PRLs exist in all kinds of single- and multi-cell animals. Data collected at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan confirmed the role of PRLs in binding magnesium transporters, helping to further the understanding of how these proteins influence human disease.
Read more on the Canadian Light Source website