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Cornell Researchers Discover a Missing Link to our Understanding of Cell Migration


Researchers at Cornell have discovered a possible way to prevent cancer cells from spreading. Their research has identified two key proteins required for cancer cells to mobilize, and uncovered a new pathway that treatments could block. In order for cancer to metastasize, cell migration must occur.

Researchers in the lab of Richard Cerione, Goldwin Smith Professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, identified the collection of a protein called tissue transglutaminase (tTG) in a specific location of a breast cancer cell membrane, which stimulates cell migration. tTG moves to the membrane surface with help from a "chaperone" protein called heat-shock-protein-70 (Hsp70). Using inhibitors that block the function of chaperones, Cerione and his team paralyzed Hsp70s and stopped breast cancer cells in culture from gathering tTG into a leading edge, effectively immobilizing them.

The study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, was co-authored by graduate student Lindsey Boroughs; Jared L. Johnson, Ph.D. '11; and Marc Antonyak, senior research associate.

Read more about the science behind this important discovery

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