- Molecule of the Year  2011 and the runners up & the voters’ statements (marked with ~~)

Molecule of the Year 2011 is the BMP7 (Bone Morphogenetic Protein 7)

 ~~My reason is that this is very interesting scientifically as well as medically. It appears to be very important in the regulation of dormancy and recurrence of cancer stem cells, offering two avenues for potential new forms of cancer treatment, either preventing cancer stem cells going into dormancy to allow chemotherapeutic targeting of cancer stem cells, or promoting and maintaining cancer stem cell dormancy thus preventing them from recurring/expanding. These are very interesting and important cell biology concepts.

 

~~The management of cancer metastasis is a serious health problem. BMP7 plays an important role in inducing senescence in cancer stem cells in bone and is able to eradicate residual stem cells in mouse models. Thus BMP7 may prove to be an important therapeutic molecule in combating metastasis.

Lit:

Bone morphogenetic protein 7 in dormancy and metastasis of prostate cancer stem-like cells in bone. Kobayashi A, Okuda H, Xing F, Pandey PR, Watabe M, Hirota S, Pai SK, Liu W, Fukuda K, Chambers C, Wilber A, Watabe K. Source: Department of Medical Microbiology, Immunology, and Cell Biology, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL 19626, USA. J Exp Med. 2011 Dec 19;208(13):2641-55. doi: 10.1084/jem.20110840. Epub 2011 Nov 28.  

1st runners up:

a. Basigin

   ~~Finding effective treatment for malaria is a serious global health challenge. Basigin is a receptor on erythrocyte membranes that is essential for invasion by all tested strains of Plasmodium. This makes it a suitable focus for new anti-malarials.

Lit: 

Basigin is a receptor essential for erythrocyte invasion by Plasmodium falciparum. Crosnier C, Bustamante LY, Bartholdson SJ, Bei AK, Theron M, Uchikawa M, Mboup S, Ndir O, Kwiatkowski DP, Duraisingh MT, Rayner JC, Wright GJ.  Source:  Cell Surface Signalling Laboratory, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1HH, UK. Nature. 2011 Nov 9;480(7378):534-7. doi: 10.1038/nature10606.

b. Adipotide

  ~~This molecule, a synthetic peptidomimetic that targets fat cell vasculature and carries an apoptotic inducing cargo is an excellent example of the developing synthetic biology approach that in this case is working for the treatment of obesity in a primate model.

 

  ~~The world-wide increase in obesity is becoming a health concern. Adipotide has been shown to cause weight loss in obese monkeys through reduction of fat tissue. This makes adipotide a potential drug for combating obesity in humans.

Lit:

A peptidomimetic targeting white fat causes weight loss and improved insulin resistance in obese monkeys. Barnhart KF, Christianson DR, Hanley PW, Driessen WH, Bernacky BJ, Baze WB, Wen S, Tian M, Ma J, Kolonin MG, Saha PK, Do KA, Hulvat JF, Gelovani JG,Chan L, Arap W, Pasqualini R.  Source: David H. Koch Center, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA. Sci Transl Med. 2011 Nov 9;3(108):108ra112. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002621.

 

 

c. miR 33a/b

  ~~micro RNAs are found to contribute a wide range of diseases. For this miR it contributes to changes in HDL and cardiovascular disease. The mode of action is via the miR repressing the cholesterol transporter ABCA1.

Lit:

Inhibition of miR-33a/b in non-human primates raises plasma HDL and lowers VLDL triglycerides. Rayner KJ, Esau CC, Hussain FN, McDaniel AL, Marshall SM, van Gils JM, Ray TD, Sheedy FJ, Goedeke L, Liu X, Khatsenko OG, Kaimal V, Lees CJ,Fernandez-Hernando C, Fisher EA, Temel RE, Moore KJ. Source:  Marc and Ruti Bell Vascular Biology and Disease Program, Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA. Nature. 2011 Oct 19;478(7369):404-7. doi: 10.1038/nature10486.

 2nd Runners up:

1. GABA

~~This molecule appears to be capable of promoting the restoration of beta islet cells as well as suppressing systemic inflammation, and thus restoring islet function in diabetic mice. This is an interesting effect.

Lit:

GABA exerts protective and regenerative effects on islet beta cells and reverses diabetes. Soltani N, Qiu H, Aleksic M, Glinka Y, Zhao F, Liu R, Li Y, Zhang N, Chakrabarti R, Ng T, Jin T, Zhang H, Lu WY, Feng ZP, Prud'homme GJ, Wang Q. Source: Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, the Keenan Research Centre in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada M5B 1W8. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jul 12;108(28):11692-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1102715108. Epub 2011 Jun 27.

 2.  NcoR1

~~This protein is a corepressor and part of the histone deacetylase complex. The protein has a role in modulating muscle mass and oxidative function. Studies on NCoR1 suggest that interference with NCoR1 action could improve muscle function.

Lit:

NCoR1 is a conserved physiological modulator of muscle mass and oxidative function. Yamamoto H, Williams EG, Mouchiroud L, Cantó C, Fan W, Downes M, Héligon C, Barish GD, Desvergne B, Evans RM, Schoonjans K, Auwerx J.  Source: Laboratory of Integrative and Systems Physiology, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland. Cell. 2011 Nov 11;147(4):827-39. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.10.017.

CONGRATULATIONS!!