Structure of a protein complex related with cell survival revealed
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A team from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) has determined for the first time the high-resolution structure of a complex (R2TP) involved in key processes for cell survival and in diseases such as cancer. This achievement has been made possible by using high-resolution cryo-electron microscopy, a technique brought to the CNIO thanks to Óscar Llorca, director of the Structural Biology Programme and lead author on the paper published in Nature Communications.

In 2017, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded to three scientists (Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank, and Richard Henderson) for their work on the development of cryo-electron microscopy. This technique can capture images of individual molecules, which are used to determine their structure and to ascertain biological processes in atomic detail.

Óscar Llorca and his team have used this technique to learn about the structure and functioning of a complex system called R2TP, which is involved in various key processes for cell survival such as the activation of the kinases mTOR, ATR and ATM, proteins that are the target of various cancer drugs currently being developed.

This work is the result of a collaborative project with the research group led by Professor Laurence H. Pearl at

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