Scientists discover how rapamycin slows cell growth

May 23, 2013

University of Montreal researchers have discovered a novel molecular mechanism that can potentially slow the progression of some cancers and other diseases of abnormal growth. In the May 23 edition of the prestigious journal Cell, scientists from the University of Montreal explain how they found that the anti-cancer and anti-proliferative drug rapamycin slows down or prevents cells from dividing.

"Cells normally monitor the availability of nutrients and will slow down or accelerate their growth and division accordingly. A key monitor of nutrients is a protein called the Target of Rapamycin (TOR), but we do not know the details of how this protein feeds signals downstream to control growth says Dr. Stephen Michnick, senior author and a University of Montreal biochemistry professor. He adds that, "we were surprised to find that TOR hooks up to a circuit that controls the exit of cells from division which in turn modulates the message that codes for a key cell cycle regulator called B-cyclin".

In collaboration with Daniel Zenklusen, also a University of Montreal biochemistry professor and lead author and Vincent Messier, discovered that when cells are starved for nutrients TOR sends a signal to shut down production of a chemical message in the form of RNA to synthesize B cyclin ", Dr. Michnick explained. "We also found that TOR acts through a previously unforeseen intermediary, a protein that makes small chemical modifications to proteins normally stabilize B cyclin ", he added. "We have known that starvation and a drug that mimics starvation, rapamycin, affects B cyclin synthesis, but we didn't know how. Our studies now point to one mechanism", noted Dr. Messier.

Dr. Zenklusen emphasized that, "this is an important finding with implications for our understanding on how the normal organism interprets its environment to control growth and it was a surprise to find a mechanism that works through the RNA that codes for a . Dr. Michnick adds, " is a promising therapy for some cancers and other devastating maladies such as the rare lung disease called lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). It remains to be seen whether the pathway we have discovered might be an alternative target for the development of therapeutics against these diseases."

Explore further: Team discovers how drug prevents aging and cancer progression

More information: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867413005114

Related Stories

Team discovers how drug prevents aging and cancer progression

March 27, 2013

University of Montreal researchers have discovered a novel molecular mechanism that can potentially slows the aging process and may prevent the progression of some cancers. In the March 23 online edition of the prestigious ...

Cancer protein discovery may aid radiation therapy

June 9, 2011

Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have uncovered a new role for a key cancer protein, a finding that could pave the way for more-effective radiation treatment of a variety of tumors.

Scientists find protein critical for tissue regeneration

March 20, 2012

A flatworm known for its ability to regenerate cells is shedding more light on how cancer could be treated and how regenerative medicine could better target diseases, according to researchers at the University of California, ...

Recommended for you

Ants need work-life balance, research suggests

January 16, 2017

As humans, we constantly strive for a good work-life balance. New findings by researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology suggest that ants, long perceived as the workaholics of the insect world, do the same.

New tools will drive greater understanding of wheat genes

January 16, 2017

Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientists have developed a much-needed genetic resource that will greatly accelerate the study of gene functions in wheat. The resource, a collection of wheat seeds with more than 10 million ...

How China is poised for marine fisheries reform

January 16, 2017

As global fish stocks continue sinking to alarmingly low levels, a joint study by marine fisheries experts from within and outside of China concluded that the country's most recent fisheries conservation plan can achieve ...

SMiLE-seq: A new technique speeds up genetics

January 16, 2017

Scientists at EPFL have developed a technique that can be a game-changer for genetics by making the characterization of DNA-binding proteins much faster, more accurate, and efficient.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.