In the Cancer Fight: Promising New Drug Target Found

MCB Professor Jamie Cate's lab has "found a promising new drug target within that pathway that is appealing, in part, because it appears to control production of only a few percent of the body’s many proteins, those critical to regulating the growth and proliferation of cells."

“If cancer cells are making too much mRNA, you could shut them down by preventing them from using that mRNA to make protein,“ said Jamie Cate, a UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology and of chemistry and leader of the study. “Because this binding protein is not used for general protein production – not every mRNA uses this – you may be able to get a more specific anti-cancer effect by targeting that alone.“


The eIF3d protein has a secret door (red) that opens when the protein binds to certain types of mRNA that are involved in cell growth and proliferation. Once the secret door is open, a new binding site becomes available for the chemical handle at the end of the mRNA to bind and initiate translation of the mRNA. (Amy Lee graphic)