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How Spider Silk will one day be used to treat cancer

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Cancer is at the same time one of the most common and catastrophic diseases in our society. Therefore, devising a new way to treat it is a permanent scientific challenge.


A protein A play called p53 Important role In the body’s immune response to cancer, therefore Cancer treatment..Specifically, our body depends on p53 to prevent cancer cell Because it grows out of control and divides.

P53 is called the “guardian of the genome” because it can prevent cells with DNA damage from turning into cancer cells. Basically, it shuts down cells when it detects damage that can cause the cells to grow into a tumor.

Until 60% of all cancersThis has become the most common feature to be shared, as p53 is missing or corrupted. Human cancer.. Therefore, the introduction of intact p53 protein into cancer cells will be a sophisticated method for treating this disease.

However, this is more difficult than I expected. P53 is a relatively large floppy protein. That is, our cells do not produce it in large quantities, they can easily aggregate and cease functioning, and once created they are degraded.

To find a possible solution to this problem, we looked at how nature treats similar proteins. Somewhat surprisingly SpidroinIts protein Spider Spins on silk and is a bit like p53. They are also large, floppy and easily aggregate. However, unlike p53, they are very stable and are covered with small, compact parts (called domains) that can be easily created by cellular protein production mechanisms.

of Our studyWas recently published in the journal Construction, A small section (domain) of spider silk protein was attached to human p53 protein. When we introduced this “fusion protein” into cells in the laboratory, we found that the cells were producing in very large quantities.

I analyzed the protein to understand why Electron microscopy, Computer simulation, Nuclear magnetic resonance, And mass spectrometry. These experiments will tell you where the different parts of the protein are and how they work together like the parts of a robot.

The most floppy portion of the p53 protein was found to wrap around the spider’s thread domain, like the thread around the mitotic spindle. By “rolling up” the protein in this way, the spider silk domain pulls the protein out of the cell production mechanism, resulting in more protein being produced.

Spider silk-To test whether the p53 protein is active, it is placed in cancer cells that contain a so-called “reporter gene.” This causes the cells to light up when p53 turns on a gene that stops the growth of the cell. Surprisingly, the fusion protein responded stronger than normal p53. This means that you can, in principle, use the Spider Silk domain to increase the shutdown capacity of p53. cancer cell..

What now?

So far, none of our findings correspond to new cancer treatments. But they open up new possibilities. This knowledge can be used to design new protein domains that reduce p53 floppies and facilitate manufacturing.

When delivering RNA, the genetic “blueprint” of how to make p53, to cells, modified spider silk domains can be included to enhance the cell’s ability to make proteins.

The next step is to test how well healthy human cells can tolerate spiders. silk The protein, and whether this addition extends the lifespan of the intracellular p53 protein.


Spider silk may stabilize cancer-suppressing proteins


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How Spider Silk will one day be used to treat cancer

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