Collapse of p53 into clumps might be linked to cancer, according to St. Jude

December 01, 2005

(MEMPHIS, TENN.--Dec. 1, 2005) The disruption of a molecular bridge that holds together the molecule p53 tends to destabilize this protein, allowing it to form potentially disease-causing aggregates, or "clumps," according to a study by investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

The mutation that causes clumps to form is associated only with the pediatric cancer adrenocortical carcinoma (cancer of the outer layer of the adrenal gland), suggesting a link between clump formation for mutant p53 in adrenal cells and the resulting cancer. Although the current finding only suggests a link between p53 clumps and adrenocortical carcinoma, mutations that disrupt various proteins have broader implications. The resulting aggregates, called amyloid fibrils, are also associated with diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

When the p53 gene is mutated, the defective p53 proteins that are produced cannot trigger the feedback mechanism that normally controls the protein's levels, according to Richard W. Kriwacki, Ph.D., an associate member of the Department of Structural Biology.

"The more defective p53 protein there is, the more chance there is for some of these proteins to become destabilized and form dysfunctional fibrils," said Kriwacki, senior author of a report on this work that appears in the pre-publication issue of Protein Science.
Other authors of this paper include Charles Galea, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow who did much of the work on this project; and Prentice Bowman, a student at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine who was formally a member of the St. Jude Pediatric Oncology Education Program and the Rhodes College/St. Jude SummerPlus Program.

This work was supported in part by the National Cancer Institute, a Cancer Center (CORE) Support Grant, ALSAC and the Robert and Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fund-raising organization. For more information, please visit

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to