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May 31, 2019

Study reveals structure of a ‘master switch’ controlling cell division

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Unregulated cell division is a hallmark of cancer, and one of the key proteins involved in controlling cell division is called FoxM1. Abnormal activation of FoxM1 is a common feature of cancer cells and is correlated with poor prognosis, metastasis, and resistance to chemotherapy.

Now researchers at UC Santa Cruz have determined the structure of this protein—a kind of “master switch” for cell division—in its inactive or “off” conformation. This new understanding of the structure of FoxM1 could ultimately be used to design new drugs that stabilize the protein in its inactive state and thereby stop the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells.

Seth Rubin, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Cruz, explained that FoxM1 is a “transcription factor,” a protein that controls the activity of specific genes.

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