Protein Interaction Presents Lung Cancer Drug Target

Attacking lung cancer cell foundation may present effective treatment option.

Interaction among proteins could lead to new treatments that prevent the spread of lung cancer, according to a recent study.

Communication between these 2 proteins prompts the transportation of membrane sacks inside the Golgi apparatus, which is involved in lung cancer development. The Golgi apparatus acts as a “cellular post office,” the authors noted, and has the ability to package proteins to transport them to other parts of the cell, or even deliver them to areas outside of the cell.

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers identified a protein inside the Golgi called PAQR11, which received a signal from the protein Zeb1. This communication between the 2 proteins is what prompts the transport of membrane sacks inside the Golgi.

Membrane sacks can change their delivery routes, which fundamentally alters the perimeter of the cancer cells, allowing the cell to detach from its fixed position in the lung and move to other areas in the body, according to the study.

“If we think of the cancer cell like a tent structure; it has fixed sides to hold its shape and is firmly anchored to the ground in order to secure its contents,” said researcher Dr Daniel Ungar. “It cannot conceivably be moved until its architecture is altered somehow.

“In order to move the tent, we have to rearrange its contents and collapse its sides in order to lift it out of its anchored position and carry it away. A similar process happens with cancer when it metastasizes — its outer edges are altered resulting in it becoming unanchored.”

When the Golgi apparatus receives the communication between the 2 proteins, it signals that the movement of membrane sacks around the cell should be changed, according to the study. The change in movement alters the perimeter of the cancer cell, allowing it to relocate from its original place to a different area in the body.

“Now that we recognize this system, there is the potential to develop a drug that interferes with this communication and prevents the Golgi apparatus from facilitating the movement of the membrane sacks,” Dr Ungar said. “The next stage of this study will be to look at how we target this process without interrupting normal cellular functions on noncancerous cells.”