AIM1 Protein Decreases the Potential for Metastasis by Prostate Cancer Cells, Study Shows

AIM1 Protein Decreases the Potential for Metastasis by Prostate Cancer Cells, Study Shows
Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center discovered that a protein called AIM1 keeps prostate cancer cells from acquiring properties that allow them to invade and spread within the body. Cells lacking this protein have an unnatural ability to modify their shape and squeeze into other organs, where they originate new metastasis. The study, “AIM1 is an actin-binding protein that suppresses cell migration and micrometastatic dissemination,” was published in the journal Nature Communications. The study began with researchers analyzing available data about the genetics and chemistry of prostate cancer. They found that a particular gene, called AIM1 (short for absent in melanoma 1), was absent in 20-30% of non-metastatic and about 40% of metastatic prostate cancers. AIM1 protein levels were twofold to fourfold lower in metastatic prostate cancers than in normal prostate cells and in prostate cancers confined to the gland (non-metastatic). The results suggested that AIM1 is associated with the ability of prostate tumor cells to spread and disseminate. While prior studies had linked AIM1 to skin cancer development, its role in other cancers, including prostate cancer, was unknown. Researchers tracked the location of AIM1 in human cells grown in the lab using fluorescent dyes. In normal prostate cells, AIM1 was located close to the cell membrane, bound to another protein called beta-actin. Beta-actin is a key constituent of cells’ cytoskeleton, a network of filaments that determines a cell’s shape, among other functions
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Patricia holds a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from University Nova de Lisboa, and has served as an author on several research projects and fellowships, as well as major grant applications for European Agencies. She has also served as a PhD student research assistant at the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Columbia University, New York.

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