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

New Tool to Study Critical Protein Interaction in Cancer Research

Published: Thursday, July 03, 2014
Last Updated: Thursday, July 03, 2014
Bookmark and Share
A*STAR scientists used fluorescent molecular rotors to study protein-protein interactions involving p53 and MDM2 in cells.

A recent study by scientists from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is the first to report on the use of fluorescent molecular rotors for cancer drug development. The study was published on 30 April as the cover article in the Journal of The American Chemical Society (JACS).

On the cellular level, cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells containing damaged or mutated DNA which could result in tumours. p53 is a ‘tumour suppressor protein’ because it functions as the body’s defence against cancer by binding to regulatory sites on the genome and trigger repair mechanisms to the DNA. Alternatively, p53 is also known to initiate a process of apoptosis or programmed cell death.

MDM2 protein is a negative regulator of p53. This means that a high level of MDM2 inhibits the activity of p53 by binding to it and breaking it down; on the other hand, when mutated or damaged DNA is detected, the level of MDM2 falls and allows p53 to initiate DNA repair. The breakdown of the regulatory abilities of MDM2 and p53 will lead to tumours. For instance, an overexpression of MDM2 has been observed in soft tissue sarcomas, gliomas, lymphomas and breast cancer. The study of MDM2-p53 interaction is, therefore, important in cancer research.

In this study, A*STAR scientists used fluorescent molecular rotors to study protein-protein interactions involving p53 and MDM2 in cells. They found that the fluorescent molecular rotor fluoresces or “lights up” when it is coupled with a short peptide fragment of the MDM2.

Armed with this finding, the scientists screened a library of small molecule fragments for candidates that may potentially disrupt p53-MDM2 binding. They detected a total of 15 hits – eight were validated by an existing method known as fluorescence polarisation and found extra seven which were missed out.

Dr Teo Yin Nah, Research Fellow at A*STAR’s Molecular Engineering Laboratory, said: “Researchers have used molecular rotors as viscosity sensor probes in live cells. This is the first time we have proved that molecular rotors can be used in a different way to understanding molecular interactions that causes cancer. Scientists now have another tool in their arsenal to further our understanding of the MDM2-p53 interaction.”

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

A*STAR Findings on Breast Cancer Hold Potential for New Treatments
Computational techniques to increase understanding of diseases and improve patient treatments.
Friday, October 30, 2015
Gene Associated with an Aggressive Breast Cancer Identified
Over-expressed gene in triple negative breast cancer offers new diagnostics for risk assessment.
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Novel Gene Predicts Both Breast Cancer Relapse and Response to Chemotherapy
A predictive marker discovered by scientists at A*STAR and NUS could help doctors classify breast cancer patients for more effective treatment.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
New Possibilities for Leukaemia Therapy with a Novel Mode of Cancer Cell Recognition
A new class of lipids in human leukaemia cells trigger an immune response to kill the cells.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Singapore Scientists Discover New RNA Processing Pathway Important in hESCs
Discovery of RNA regulator could lead to a better understanding of diseases like cancer and influenza.
Monday, September 09, 2013
Scientists at GIS Discover Gene that Controls the Birth of Neurons
Discovery of long non-coding RNA's role in neurogenesis may lead to cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
A*STAR Scientist Alex Matter Awarded Prestigious Szent-Gyorgyi Prize For Progress In Cancer Research
National Foundation for Cancer Research honours Professor Alex Matter with esteemed award for groundbreaking cancer pill that gives leukaemia patients a new lease of life.
Friday, April 05, 2013
A*STAR's GIS Collaborates with GSK to Further Research on Lung Cancer
Partnership will advance both organizations' joint efforts towards finding a cure for the disease.
Thursday, January 31, 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
A*STAR Scientists Identify Potential Drug Target for Inflammatory Diseases Including Cancers
This discovery holds the potential to reduce healthcare costs for many common inflammatory diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
A*STAR Scientists Pinpoint Genetic Changes that Spell Cancer
Fruit flies light the way for scientists to uncover genetic changes.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
A*STAR Chief Scientist Wins Cancer Research UK Lifetime Achievement Prize
Professor Lane will receive the award at the National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference in Liverpool.
Thursday, July 19, 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
A*STAR and GE Global Research Sign Memorandum of Understanding
Agreement to develop integrated advanced medical imaging technologies for improved clinical diagnosis.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Scientific News
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.
Mathematical Model Forecasts the Path of Breast Cancer
Chances of survival depend on which organs breast cancer tumors colonize first.
Exploring the Causes of Cancer
Queen's research to understand the regulation of a cell surface protein involved in cancer.
Nanocarriers May Carry New Hope for Brain Cancer Therapy
Berkeley lab researchers develop nanoparticles that can carry therapeutics across the brain blood barrier.
RNA-Based Drugs Give More Control Over Gene Editing
CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technique can be transiently activated and inactivated using RNA-based drugs, giving researchers more precise control in correcting and inactivating genes.
University of Glasgow Researchers Make An Impact in 60 Seconds
Early-career researchers were invited to submit an engaging, dynamic and compelling 60 second video illuminating an aspect of their research.
Metabolic Profiles Distinguish Early Stage Ovarian Cancer with Unprecedented Accuracy
Studying blood serum compounds of different molecular weights has led scientists to a set of biomarkers that may enable development of a highly accurate screening test for early-stage ovarian cancer.
Dead Bacteria to Kill Colorectal Cancer
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have successfully used dead bacteria to kill colorectal cancer cells.
CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Editing: Check Three Times, Cut Once
Two new studies from UC Berkeley should give scientists who use CRISPR-Cas9 for genome engineering greater confidence that they won’t inadvertently edit the wrong DNA.
Genetically Engineering Algae to Kill Cancer Cells
New interdisciplinary research has revealed the frontline role tiny algae could play in the battle against cancer, through the innovative use of nanotechnology.

Skyscraper Banner
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