Cancer Enzyme 'Sits' on Cell Surfaces.

 
FREE EXCERPT

In order to spread cancer, tumor cells must make their way through collagen, which is the most-abundant protein in the human body and provides structural strength to bones and tissue. One enzyme, which scientists have dubbed MT1-MMP, can "sit" on the surface of a tumor cell and digest the collagen in its path, opening a tunnel for tumor cells to spread.

"The MT1-MMP enzyme has four 'blades,' like the blades on a propeller. Our study shows that two of the blades stick to tumor cells," says Steven Van Doren, professor of biochemistry at the University of Missouri, Columbia. "Because there are two blades, the enzyme can stick to the cell in two different ways. We found that one orientation allows the enzyme to digest the collagen while the other probably interferes with that process."

By shedding light on the specific positioning of these blades and the corresponding interactions with collagen, researchers have opened the door to interfering in this enzyme's digestion of collagen, a strategy that could close an important avenue for the spread of cancer...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP