Antibiotic offers potential for anti-cancer activity

Jan 28, 2011

An antibiotic known for its immunosuppressive functions could also point the way to the development of new anti-cancer agents, researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine have reported.

The study determined that the compound, tautomycetin, targets an enzyme called SHP2, which plays an important role in cell activities such as proliferation and differentiation. Interestingly, SHP2 are also known to cause several types of leukemia and solid tumors. The findings were reported in the Jan. 28, 2011, issue of the journal Chemistry and Biology.

The potential for developing anti-cancer agents grew out of an attempt to determine how the compound, tautomycetin, exerts its activities, said Zhong-Yin Zhang, Ph.D., Robert A. Harris Professor and chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The finding is also encouraging because SHP2 is a member of a large family of enzymes called phosphotases (PTPs), which are important in the signaling processes that control all essential . Dysregulation of PTP activity has been linked to several human diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and immune dysfunctions. But their makeup has made it difficult to find potential drugs to act on them, characteristics that have labeled the PTPs as "undruggable," Dr. Zhang said.

"So we have identified a lead – a natural product produced by the bacteria Streptomyces – that should serve as a foundation for the development of therapeutic agents for a large family of protein tyrosine phosphotase targets. Until now these targets, including SHP2 for leukemia and other cancers, have been deemed undruggable," he said.

Explore further: Intracellular imaging gets interactive

Provided by Indiana University School of Medicine

4.5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Protein is key to embryonic stem cell differentiation

Mar 18, 2009

Investigators at Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham) have learned that a protein called Shp2 plays a critical role in the pathways that control decisions for differentiation or self-renewal in both human embryonic ...

New path for colon cancer drug discovery

Nov 19, 2010

An old pinworm medicine is a new lead in the search for compounds that block a signaling pathway implicated in colon cancer. The findings, reported by Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers in the ...

Recommended for you

Protein glue shows potential for use with biomaterials

Aug 28, 2014

Researchers at the University of Milan in Italy have shown that a synthetic protein called AGMA1 has the potential to promote the adhesion of brain cells in a laboratory setting. This could prove helpful ...

User comments : 0