Listeria possibly key to understanding cancer
A research team including University of Central
Florida Microbiology Professor Keith Ireton is experimenting with the bacterial
pathogen Listeria Monocytogenes to better understand the mechanisms of cell
growth and cancer development.
In research published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the team
found that a Listeria protein called InlB induces internalisation and
degradation of a human receptor known as Met, which has been implicated in the
development of some cancers.
Lisa A. Elferink
at the University of Texas Medical Branch,
who led the team, together with Ireton, found that the ability of InlB to induce
Met internalisation and degradation requires a human protein called Cbl. If
scientists could discover how to control Cbl, such knowledge could lead to the
development of drugs that induce the destruction of Met and which are therefore
useful in treating Met-related cancers.
The team found that Listeria provokes human epithelial cells (cells lining
the small intestine) into ingesting bacteria. When Listeria contacts an
epithelial cell, the bacterium causes changes in the cell's cytoskeleton that
allow the cell to swallow up the bacterium. We discovered that a human protein,
CrkII, plays a critical role in stimulating internalisation of Listeria by
somehow controlling the cytoskeleton.
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