Oxford Brookes Brookes alumni leads research publication that could pave the way to identify new drug targets for the treatment of cancer

Thursday, 07 November 2019

Victor

Oxford Brookes Brookes Department of Biological and Medical Sciences alumni, Andrada Tomoni is Lead Author on a research publication that could pave the way to identify new drug targets for the treatment of Cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune diseases and more. Andrada graduated from Oxford Brookes last summer and is now a Tech Transfer Scientist at Oxford Nanopore Technologies. Andrada collaborated with  Dr Victor Bolanos-Garcia and Dr Jonathan Lees from the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences and Prof Agatha Bastida from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).Their research has led to a recent publication in the Open Access journal Catalysts (https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4344/9/9/778 which discusses pseudokinases.

The analysis of the human genome has revealed that approximately one-tenth of all protein kinases, a type of protein that control multiple processes in the cell through the transfer of a phosphate group to diverse molecules including other proteins, are predicted to be unable to transfer phosphate. For this reason they have been named pseudokinases. This means these proteins must use  strategies other than phosphate transfer to perform their functions in the cell.  

The aforementioned publication critically analysed the role of pseudokinases as important mediators of vital processes through their direct interactions with other proteins. This highly accessed article discussed the basis of pseudokinases classification and the roles that pseudokinases play in metabolic and neurological disorders as well as cancer. The report shows that a few pseudokinases named as  ERBB3,  JAK1, PTK7, and TYK2 share a large number of common partners suggesting that these pseudokinases are co-regulated. Last, the authors foresee that a deeper understanding of the universe of interactions (a notion known as the interactome) mediated by pseudokinases will not only provide important clues about pseudokinase functions but also pave the way to identify new drug targets for the treatment of malignancies that constitute important health challenges including rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune diseases and cancer.