A group of Korean researchers has developed the world’s first mouse model, which can alter body proteins to cause cancer, dementia and other degenerative diseases, government officials said Monday.
The joint team of KAIST and Ajou University carried out the project as part of research tasks selected by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, and published its results on Nature Communications, an international academic journal, on Feb. 21, the ministry officials said.
The new animal model can deliberately cause a variety of diseases such as cancer and dementia by abnormally acetylating -- the process of adding an acyl group to a compound -- the target protein. And researchers can make it happen in particular phases, such as the growth process within the mother after the fertilization, and in specific tissues or organs, including liver or lung.
The researchers can use the new mouse model to identify the causes of these degenerative diseases and develop customized drugs to treat cancers and traumatic brain injuries.
The approximately 20,000 kinds of proteins produced in our body regulate cell signaling and growth through post-translational modification such as acetylation, phosphorylation, and scarification after biosynthesis. Protein modification causes damage to cellular signaling and metabolism, leading to cancer and dementia and other serious diseases.
The National Institute of Food and Drug Safety Evaluation under the wing of the ministry has developed 34 kinds of animal models with a particular illness, including obesity, diabetes, tumors and immunodeficiency, and plans to develop 18 more by 2018 and use them for developing new drugs and assessing medical products, the officials said.
|Development of the mouse model. KAIST and Ajou University Photo.|
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