Protein That Feeds Prostate Cancer Cells May Be Treatable Target, Study Says

Protein That Feeds Prostate Cancer Cells May Be Treatable Target, Study Says
Researchers have identified a protein that seems to help keep prostate cancer cells energetic and well, increasing tumor cell proliferation and invasion, and preventing cell death mechanisms from activating. Targeting this protein, called TRAP1, may be a therapeutic approach for prostate cancer patients. The study, "Transgenic Expression of Mitochondrial Chaperone TRAP1 Accelerates Prostate Cancer Development," was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Mechanisms that control protein folding in mitochondria, a cell's powerhouse, are necessary for preventing protein toxicity and promoting cellular adaptation to an unfavorable environment by modifying such energy production. These mechanisms mainly rely on chaperones that direct the refolding of misfolded proteins or, conversely, on degrading misfolded or aggregated proteins. Studies suggest that cancer cells exploit these mechanisms to survive. Indeed, a number reported that the heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) and TRAP1, two mitochondrial chaperones, are found at higher levels in the mitochondria of cancer cells than in that of healthy cells. Investigating the impact of TRAP1 on disease, researchers at The Wistar Institute previously engineered mice to lack TRAP1, revealing that these mice lived longer and exhibited fewer age-related diseases. This finding suggested that the molecule was involved in disease, but its exact role in cancer development was not identified. "In our prior study, while we had evidence that hinted at TRAP1's role in tumor growth, we lacked the direct
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Inês Martins holds a BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and is currently finishing her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at Universidade de Lisboa. Her work has been focused on blood vessels and their role in both hematopoiesis and cancer development.

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