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New target identified in AML
April 2014
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SAN ANTONIO—A recently published paper in Leukemia, a Nature journal, detailed a discovery by a University of Texas Health Science Center researcher of WTAP, a protein that could play a pivotal role in the development of pediatric acute myeloid leukemia (AML). WTAP, which has not previously been linked to AML, was discovered to contribute to abnormal cell behavior. When WTAP expression was knocked down in AML cells in the lab, researchers saw that that suppression in turn “greatly suppressed proliferation and induced differentiation,” according to Dr. Hima Bansal, senior research associate at the Health Science Center and lead author of the paper. Further investigation revealed that suppressing the protein Hsp90, a molecular chaperone that stabilizes more than 200 other proteins, in turn reduced WTAP levels. Several other client proteins of Hsp90 are linked to cancer as well.

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