Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Scientists Find a Promising Way To Boost The Body’s Immune Surveillance Via p53

Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Researchers at A*STAR have discovered a new mechanism involving p53, the famous tumour suppressor, to fight against aggressive cancers.

This strategy works by sabotaging the ability of the cancer cells to hide from the immune system. Published in the prestigious Nature Communications journal, this research opens a new avenue to improve targeted cancer therapy by harnessing the body’s own immune system to control and eliminate cancer cells.

Also known as the “Guardian of the Genome”, p53 fights cancer by causing damaged cells to die or by halting the growth of mutant cells before they become cancerous and spread to the rest of the body. Ironically, because of its pivotal role in coordinating a range of cancer-fighting mechanisms in the human body, it is also one of the most important cancer-causing genes when mutated. Studies have shown that more than 50% of all human cancers carry defects in the p53 gene, and almost all other cancers with a normal p53 function carry other defects which indirectly impair the cancer-fighting function of p53.

In this study, the SIgN team discovered for the first time that the integrity of p53 affects the production of a special cell surface protein called Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) class I. MHC class I molecules on the cancer cell surface serve as targets for the immune system. Therefore, having less MHC I molecules may allow cancer cells to hide better and escape detection by the immune system.

Using two cancer cell lines differing only in the integrity of p53 gene, the scientists observed that cancer cells with defective p53 had much less MHC class I on the cell surface. Specifically, they discovered that p53 moderates the expression of MHC I by controlling the amount of another protein called ERAP1 in the cells. Interestingly, a number of disease conditions including tumour malignancy, multiple sclerosis and autoimmune disease were recently reported to be associated with ERAP1.

The team leader, Associate Professor Ren Ee Chee from SIgN said, “We were surprised to discover that p53 regulates MHC class I production by acting through ERAP1. This may explain how cancer cells escape detection by our body’s immune system. More importantly, it opens up exciting avenues of research to explore how restoration of p53 with drugs such as those that target ERAP1 can help to harness the immune system to recognise and destroy cancer cells.”

Acting Executive Director of SIgN, Associate Professor Laurent Rénia said, “The team has uncovered a new door to manipulate one of the most studied yet enigmatic cancer-associated genes of our times. I am confident that this work will pave the way for more targeted, efficient and cost-effective treatment for the millions of cancer patients globally.”

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

New Tool to Study Critical Protein Interaction in Cancer Research
A*STAR scientists used fluorescent molecular rotors to study protein-protein interactions involving p53 and MDM2 in cells.
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Missing Protein Explains Link Between Obesity and Diabetes
A*STAR scientists pioneered a molecular connection between the two health conditions.
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
A*STAR Scientists Discover Novel Hormone Essential for Heart Development
This unusual discovery could aid cardiac repair and provide new therapies to common heart diseases and hypertension.
Friday, December 06, 2013
A*STAR Scientists Make Discovery of Cell Nucleus Structure Crucial to Understanding Diseases
Genes relocated from their correct position in the nucleus cause them to malfunction and this may lead to the heart, blood vessels and muscles breaking down.
Friday, February 08, 2013
A*STAR Scientists Discover Potential Drug for Deadly Brain Cancer
This discovery can potentially prevent the progression and relapse of deadly brain tumours.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Singapore Scientists Identify New Biomarker for Cancer in Bone Marrow
This discovery may potentially cure patients of multiple myeloma.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Breakthroughs in Chikungunya Research Spell New Hope for Better Treatment and Protection
A*STAR's SIgN have made great strides in the battle against the infectious disease.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Discovery of the Cellular Origin of Cervical Cancer
A team of scientists have identified a unique set of cells in the cervix that are the cause of HPV related cervical cancers.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Scientists Uncover Exciting Lead into Premature Ageing and Heart Disease
Scientists increase life span of mice by reducing levels of SUN1 protein.
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Scientists Discover Key Component in the Mother's Egg Critical for Survival of Newly Formed Embryo
Study finds out that a protein called TRIM28 preserves 'epigenetic marks' on a specific set of genes.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Scientific News
NIH Supports New Studies to Find Alzheimer’s Biomarkers in Down Syndrome
Initiative will track dementia onset, progress in Down syndrome volunteers.
Dementia Linked to Deficient DNA Repair
Mutant forms of breast cancer factor 1 (BRCA1) are associated with breast and ovarian cancers but according to new findings, in the brain the normal BRCA1 gene product may also be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
How Cells ‘Climb’ to Build Fruit Fly Tracheas
Mipp1 protein helps cells sprout “fingers” for gripping.
A Cellular Symphony Responsible for Autoimmune Disease
Broad Institute researchers have used a novel approach to increase our understanding of the immune system as a whole.
Non-Disease Proteins Kill Brain Cells
Scientists at the forefront of cutting-edge research into neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have shown that the mere presence of protein aggregates may be as important as their form and identity in inducing cell death in brain tissue.
Closing the Loop on an HIV Escape Mechanism
Research team finds that protein motions regulate virus infectivity.
New Class of RNA Tumor Suppressors Identified
Two short, “housekeeping” RNA molecules block cancer growth by binding to an important cancer-associated protein called KRAS. More than a quarter of all human cancers are missing these RNAs.
Gut Microbes Signal to the Brain When They're Full
Don't have room for dessert? The bacteria in your gut may be telling you something.
Turning up the Tap on Microbes Leads to Better Protein Patenting
Mining millions of proteins could become faster and easier with a new technique that may also transform the enzyme-catalyst industry, according to University of California, Davis, researchers.
Exploring the Causes of Cancer
Queen's research to understand the regulation of a cell surface protein involved in cancer.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos