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Jun 30, 2020

How a protein’s small change leads to big trouble for cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, neuroscience

In molecular biology, chaperones are a class of proteins that help regulate how other proteins fold. Folding is an important step in the manufacturing process for proteins. When they don’t fold the way they’re supposed to, it can lead to the development of diseases such as cancer.

Researchers at the Sloan Kettering Institute have uncovered important findings about what causes chaperones to malfunction as well as a way to fix them when they go awry. The discovery points the way to a new approach for developing targeted drugs for cancer and other diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.

“Our earlier work showed that defects in chaperones could lead to widespread changes in cells, but no one knew exactly how it happened,” says SKI scientist Gabriela Chiosis, senior author of a study published June 30 in Cell Reports. “This paper finally gets into the nuts and bolts of that biochemical mechanism. I think it’s a pretty big leap forward.”

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