APR 29, 2016 11:39 AM PDT

3D NuRD Complex Related to Cancer Progression

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
When the equilibrium of gene regulation is disrupted, whether by random mutation, ultraviolet light exposure, or another cause, the risk of abnormal cell division and tumor growth drastically increases. A new study from the University of Leicester describes a way to restore equilibrium and reduce incidence of genetic diseases.
 
MTA1, RBBP4, and HDAC1 are core protein components of a complex called NuRD, which is responsible for regulating the amount of protein made from transcription and translation processes. When these core proteins’ interactions are inhibited or communication is misconstrued, the complex falls out of equilibrium and diseases can sprout and progress.
 
The NuRD Complex

NuRD regulates gene expression through the control and maintenance of chromatin, the genetic material that forms chromosomes inside eukaryotic cell nuclei (Nature). Chromatin allows for DNA to be organized into tightly-wound complexes called histones, which then form nucleosomes. This highly-ordered structure is dependent on consistency and accuracy, so when one brick is out of place, the whole system struggles to function properly.
 
In hopes to both understand the three-dimensional structure of the NuRD complex proteins as well as characterize their molecular nature, University of Leicester researchers studied images using electron microscopy. Their results were recently published in the journal eLIFE.
 
HDAC1 and MTA1 are known to exist at high levels in some incidences of cancer, and studying the interaction between these proteins as well as the relationship between MTA1 and RBBP4 in cancer patients and healthy patients could give the researchers a clue on how to protect disease-preventing equilibrium.
 
Electron microscopy showed an “extensive interface” between MTA1 and RBBP4. The three-dimensional images also showed a “repression complex” in cases where equilibrium was disrupted from NuRD complex-related activity. Specifically, the findings showed a second recruitment site within MTA1 for RBBP4, not known to exist before this study. Based on the different combinations of conformations between the three core proteins, the complexes are able to bind to different histones at different times. Understanding the components of this repression complex and the entire “architecture” of the NuRD complex will help scientists identify which mechanisms they should be targeting as a treatment option.
 
“An understanding [of] the exact mechanism by which the NuRD complex assembles and functions could make it an attractive target for developing novel and specific anti-cancer therapeutics and treatment for a range of genetic diseases,” said University of Leicester’s Dr. Christopher Millard.
 
Now that the University of Leicester research team has developed a more complete model of the NuRD complex, they can move on to understanding what goes wrong in NuRD signaling in cases of cancer or genetic diseases.
 
 
Sources: University of Leister, eLIFE
 
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
AUG 13, 2018
Videos
AUG 13, 2018
What does sunscreen look like with a UV camera?
  Have you ever wondered if there’s really a difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50? You’re not the only one. YouTuber Physics Girl set out...
SEP 14, 2018
Health & Medicine
SEP 14, 2018
Can You Get Addicted to Tanning at the Gym?
Do you know what GTL means? If you're a fan of the reality series "The Jersey Shore" then you know it stands for "Gym, Tan, Laundry"...
OCT 29, 2018
Neuroscience
OCT 29, 2018
Gut: a second brain and novel therapeutic target
Undersatnding the role of gut microbiome in disease pathologies and targetting them for potential treatment strategies....
NOV 02, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
NOV 02, 2018
Natural Molecule Enables Obese Mice to Shed Weight
A molecule that has been a focus of cancer research has been found to be a significant regulator of metabolism....
NOV 24, 2018
Drug Discovery
NOV 24, 2018
New Anti-Malarial Drug Target in Cancer
For decades, anti-malaria drugs--known as Chloroquines, have used to treat cancer. But the role in repurposing these drugs for slowing tumor growth have ne...
DEC 11, 2018
Immunology
DEC 11, 2018
Penetrating Brain Tumors
A team of researchers reveals potential targets for glioma tumors....
Loading Comments...