Alternations to the shape and structure of cells are critical for metastasis – the spread of cancer cells that leads to most deaths from the disease. The actin cytoskeleton inside the cell plays a key role in this process.
Arp2/3 – a complex of seven proteins – is an important component of the actin cytoskeleton and was previously thought to have only one form. Now, researchers from the Francis Crick Institute in London have found that the Arp2/3 complex has eight different isoforms, all of which have slightly different functional properties.
The researchers, who report their findings in Nature Cell Biology (online, 14 December 2015)
, say that if future research shows certain isoforms are associated with metastasis, this could lead to new, targeted cancer therapies.