Antiobiotics and proteasomes

Thanks to a myeloma patients’ list (MMA) member, I just read an interesting Science Daily article on antibiotics and cancer. See:

It appears that a certain class of antibiotics, called thiazoles, targets one of the most highly over-produced proteins in cancer cells, FoxM1, which is believed to play an important role is [sic] causing cells to become cancerous. The researchers also found that thiazole antibiotics actually stabilized other cancer-causing proteins.

This led them to hypothesize that thiazole antibiotics may act as inhibitors of the proteasome, a molecular complex that acts as a trash collector in cells, degrading old proteins that the cell has marked for destruction. Now, wait a sec. Proteasome inhibition. Does that ring a bell? Oh yes indeed! Velcade…curcumin…

Reading on, Recently, a number of proteasome inhibitors have shown promise against cancer, but no one understands why they have anti-cancer effects.

So the researchers set out to see if proteasome inhibitors inhibited FoxM1. They do. Indeed, they also caused cells to self-destruct in the same concentrations. This discovery may explain the anti-cancer activity of proteasome inhibitors. Wow. The article of course mentions only Velcade, but I will mention curcumin, another proteasome inhibitor…

As you know, I am on holiday right now and have time only for a quick post…but I will take a closer look at all of this upon my return to Italy (=next week…gee, where did the time go???!).

Eh, I couldn’t resist doing a quick online search that turned up this rather enticing description of thiazoles (Encyclopaedia Britannica): any of a class of organic compounds of the heterocyclic series characterized by a ring structure composed of three carbon atoms, one nitrogen atom, and one sulfur atom. This ring structure occurs in such important biologically active natural products as thiamine (vitamin B1), bacitracin, and the penicillins, and in numerous synthetic drugs, dyes, and industrial chemicals. Vitamin B1? Hmmm…

As fascinating as this recent bit of news is, well, it will just have to wait. The Mass Audubon sanctuary at Wellfleet and its hummingbird and butterfly garden await us and our snapping cameras. 🙂 Ciao a tutti!

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