Contrast Functions of αA- and αB-Crystallins in Cancer Development
J. W. Gigantelli,
Q. D. Nguyen,
D. W.-C. Li.
α-Crystallins, initially identified as the structural proteins of the
ocular lens, belong to the small heat shock protein family. They play
significant roles in maintaining the lens transparency and preventing protein
aggregation. α-Crystallins exist in two isoforms: αA and αB, and they display
differential tissue distribution. Their mutations are implicated in several
human diseases including cardiac myopathies, neurodegenerative
diseases, cataracts and various types of cancers. Increased αB expression
was detected in retinoblastoma, breast cancer, glioblastoma, prostate and
renal cell carcinomas, indicating its role in promoting tumor growth. A
complex picture emerges for αA. Although earlier studies suggest that αA
may promote cancer development, recent studies from our laboratory demonstrate that αA
can act as a tumor suppressor inhibiting cell transformation and retarding cell migration
through modulating MAP kinase activity. In this review, we summarize the recent progress
about the functions of αA and αB in cancer development.
Keywords: αA, αB, cancer, crystallin, therapy.
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