The research teams headed by Prof. Johanna Ivaska (University of Turku and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland) and Prof. Marko Salmi (University of Turku and the National Institute for Health and Welfare) have discovered that the SHARPIN protein regulates human cell activity.
Published in Nature Cell Biology, the study concludes that SHARPIN regulates the movement and activity of inflammatory cells and of lung and prostate cancer cells. It is likely that the discovery will also have significant implications for other conditions such as Crohn's disease, psoriasis, rheumatism and even MS.
The hypothesis that there must be a protein that inhibits cell activity was posited as far back as in the early 1990s. Researchers have now shown that SHARPIN is the hypothesised protein.
Juha Rantala and Jeroen Pouwels, members of Prof. Ivaska's research team, discovered the role of SHARPIN using a cell chip screening method developed at VTT. Using this method, the impacts of all genes in an entire genome can be examined in a single test.
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More information: Nature Cell Biology www.nature.com/ncb/journal/v13/n11/full/ncb2340.html