Discovery of a key protein in tumour metastasis

Discovery of a key protein in tumour metastasis

News from DECXS-UPF

A team of researchers from the Cancer programme of the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), led by Drs Victor M. Diaz, of UPF and Antonio García de Herreros, of the IMIM, has identified a key enzyme in cancer development called USP27X.

In their paper, published in the journal Cancer Research, the scientists have performed a genomic analysis to find new regulators of the protein Snail1, which is a key inducer of tumour invasion. The researchers have discovered the enzyme USP27X, which increases the stability of Snail1 and allows the tumour cell to start the process known as “Epithelial-mesenchymal transition” (EMT). This mechanism gives the tumour cells the ability to invade the neighbouring tissues and form metastases; it also increases resistance to drugs.

Breast cancer cells become resistant to treatment with cisplatin, a drug often used to treat this type of cancer. “When we inhibit USP27X we can reverse resistance to treatment with cisplatin and again make the tumour cells sensitive”, asserts Guillem Lambies, first author of the article. “These results open the door to creating drugs that by inhibiting USP27X can fight chemoresistance”, he adds.

More information:
DCEXS-UPF website

G Lambies, TGFβ-activated USP27X deubiquitinase regulates cell migration and chemoresistance via stabilization of Snail1. Cancer Research, October 2018