Welcome to today's edition of Morning Headlines, keeping you updated with the latest emerging stories this morning in key science and technology sectors worldwide.
This morning, we have picked the following trending stories:
Stopping Cancer Cells from Spreading
Researchers from the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Gothenburg have managed for the first time to obtain detailed information about the role of the protein metastasin in the spread of tumour cells. Published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the study paves the way for the development of new drugs.
Previous research has shown that matastasin is activated through the binding of calcium ions and then binds to and modulates other proteins. One of metastasin's binding partners is a motor protein called non-muscle myosin. Motor proteins are the driving force behind cell mobility. By binding to this protein, metastasin can increase the spread of tumour cells, acting as a kind of gas pedal for the cancer engine.
It has been possible to image metastasin and calcium-ion-bound metastasin using X-ray crystallography before, but the researchers at the University of Gothenburg are the first to have imaged the structure of calcium-ion-activated metastasin with an attached non-muscle myosin fragment.
This new image provides a better understanding of how metastasin binds to the motor protein, so increasing cell mobility and the spread of tumour cells. This understanding in turn, according to the authors, paves the way for the development of new drugs to prevent this harmful interaction between molecules and so stop tumour cells from spreading.