[Cite as http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/403922]
Prof Peter Leedman
Prof Bert O'Malley
Prof Matthew Wilce
Brief description Steroid hormones, such as estrogen and androgens, act in the body by locking onto a family of proteins (nuclear receptors) that bind directly to the DNA to regulate genes. The mechanisms underlying this process are complex and involve recruitment of additional molecules or coactivators to improve efficiency. Recently a novel coactivator was identified, termed SRA, which exerts its effects as an RNA, rather than as a protein. SRA is aberrantly expressed in breast cancer, raising the possibility that it plays an important role in breast cancer cell proliferation. To better understand how estrogen signals in breast cancer and identify proteins that bind to SRA in cancer cells, we established a collaboration with the O'Malley group at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas (who discovered SRA). We have identified several novel SRA-binding proteins, each of which plays an important role to regulate estrogen and androgen action. Up to this point, we have used a model that has enabled proof of principle studies in the same cancer cells from which SRA was discovered (non-breast or prostate cancer). However, we now need to carefully study the role of these proteins in cancer cells relevant to breast and prostate cancer. Thus, we plan to investigate how these proteins interact with SRA, how they influence nuclear receptor activity and breast and prostate cancer cell proliferation, examine their role in activating other pathways of cell growth in cancer cells, assay the levels of each protein in a series of human breast cancer specimens and solve the physcial 3-D structure of these proteins complexed to the SRA RNA. This work will provide novel insight into several key areas of hormone action in breast and prostate cancer. We hope to identify new markers that can be used for improved diagnosis and for prognosis, and provide structural information for the development of novel therapeutics.
Funding Amount $AUD 1,448,155.84
Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants
Standard Project Grant