High School Biology and Chemistry

The Role of MTA-1 in Cancer Progression and Metastasis


mta 1
The down-regulation of MTA-1 inhibits the potential of a cell lung cancer cell line to lose its malignant potential.

MTA-1, a metastasis associated protein, has been extensively researched in many labs, especially in terms of its role in the spread of cancer. There is a great deal of research that has been done on this protein, however, there are a lot of questions surrounding its expression and why an over-expression of it leads to metastasis. Metastasis is the primary cause of cancer-related death and a lot of the research concentrated in the field of oncology has primarily focused on highlighting the molecular mechanisms that drive such a process.

       The MTA-1 protein contributes to the process of metastasis through multiple genes and protein targets. It also does this by interacting with proteins that have roles in transformation, invasion, survival, DNA-repair, angiogenesis, therapeutic resistance, and hormone independence. It promotes processes by modifying and regulating the expression of target genes and/or the activity of MTA-interacting proteins. Usually, these functions are manifested through post translational modification of the protein.

       A lab at LIU, Brooklyn, is currently trying to understand the role the family of MTA proteins play in prostate cancer in terms of its biology, overall significance, and potential therapeutic opportunities. The research this lab found interest in the protein in the first place was because they found that this protein contributed to the aggressive and vicious cycle of cancer and was a member of the bone metastatic signature. There was multiple evidence that was looked at such as human prostate tissues, xenograft and transgenic mouse models of prostate cancer and various prostate cancer cell lines. These pieces of evidence have provided strong support for the role of MTA 1 in aiding tumor progression. There has also been extensive research showing that MTA-1 plays a role in inflammation-triggered prostate tumorigenesis, epithelial to mesenchymal transition, prostate cancer survival pathways and site metastasis. It also regulates the expression of tumor suppression genes by turning them off. It is a complex protein that is in control of not only its own expression, but the expression of tumor suppressor and activator genes. The lab is currently using different doses of medicine, some in combination, to see which regulates the expression of the protein best. Various procedures like western blot and PCR reactions are being used.

       All in all, pharmacological dietary agents, like resveratrol are potentially applicable to aiding with aggressive tumor progression in cancer. It is possible that drugs like this one, used in proper concentration, can have potentially inhibitory efforts on the expression of MTA-1 proteins.


(1) Levenson, A S, et al. “MTA Family of Proteins in Prostate Cancer: Biology, Significance, and Therapeutic Opportunities.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2014, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25332143.

(2) Wang, Rui-An. Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2014, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4244563/.

(3) Sen, Nirmalya, et al. Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2014, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4245458/.


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