Publication Highlights: October 2020

In a pre-print available on BioRxiv ("RAL GTPases mediate EGFR/MAPK signalling-driven intestinal stem cell proliferation and tumorigenesis upstream of RAS activation"), Julia Cordero and Glasgow cancer scientists uncover a new role for Ras-like (RAL) protein in intestinal tumour growth. Beyond acting as a RAS effector, RAL stimulated the activation and internalisation of EGFR, a receptor commonly overexpressed in intestinal cancer. Hence, targeting RAL function could be an effective therapeutic approach.

Vassilis Papalazarou, Laura Machesky and colleagues describe how the Arp2/3 complex - a key factor in organising actin filaments into networks - not only has a role in the migration of melanoblasts but also in the development of skin and hair ("The Arp2/3 complex is critical for colonisation of the mouse skin by melanoblasts"). Upon depletion of the complex, melanoblasts didn't migrate properly in the developing skin, failing to populate it with hair follicles and pigment. Mechanistically, the authors suggest that melanoblasts form impaired lamellipodia and protrusions, which are essential for actin-driven migration.

Linda Rushworth, Rachana Patel, Hing Leung and colleagues identified TCEAL1 as a potential target to sensitise prostate cancer to docetaxel therapy ("In vivo CRISPR/Cas9 knockout screen: TCEAL1 silencing enhances docetaxel efficacy in prostate cancer"). Combining docetaxel treatment with TCEAL1 inhibition in culture impacted the regulation of the cell cycle and response to DNA damage. Further work is needed to investigate the effects in combination with standard care and to monitor the response in in vivo tumours.

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