USC scientists have identified a pair of specialized sections of human cells that control the movement of proteins within cells, a crucial body function that helps prevent disease, they announced in a science journal Sunday.
The discovery at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center could open new avenues to investigate anti-cancer agents within the human body, according to findings published in the journal Nature Cell Biology.
Small "organelles" within human cells called "Gorgi apparatus" and "endoplasmic reticulum" generate specific proteins that are packages for secretion through the body. If those two mechanisms go out of control, cancer and other diseases can invade, according to the research.
"Our research reveals a new regulatory mechanism that coordinates two distinct intercellular processes that are critical to cellular homeostasis and disease development," said Dr. Chengyu Liang, the study's principal investigator.
The researchers discovered that one anti-cancer therapy, which uses ultraviolet light to suppress colon and breast cancer, helps to coordinate the trafficking of proteins by the Golgi apparatus and the endoplasmic reticulum within cells.
The anti-cancer work of the two bodies is diminished by cancer, and the scientists said discovering how they function with each other "... gives us a new avenue to investigate anti-cancer agents ..." Liang said.