Cancer proteins` bond `exposed`

Washington: Scientists claim to have for the first time revealed how two proteins form a bond to work together inside cancer cells, a pioneering research which may someday pave the way for new and effective treatments.

An international team says it has actually identified the molecular structure formed by two proteins -- NONO and PSPC1-- that turn genes on and off in cancer, `Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences` reported.

The proteins NONO and PSPC1 are found in a part of the human cell called a paraspeckle.

The research explains not only how the proteins can act together but also where in the cell they act, say the scientists from the University of Western Australia and the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research.

Lead scientist Prof Charlie Bond said that while previous studies had shown the importance of these proteins to cells and cancers, this is the first time researchers had a picture of what they look like.

"Proteins in our cells are like very tiny machines. In order to understand how they work and develop drugs against them, we have to magnify them. By combining microscopy and a sophisticated technique called crystallography, we have been able to observe the detailed atomic structure of NONO and PSPC1, and their location in the cell," he said in a release.

Team member Archa Fox added: "This is an important finding because it is the first step towards developing drugs that could change the way these proteins work. However, more work is required to show how they might be targeted by new cancer drugs."