Researchers discover how mutant protein leads to melanoma

Source: Medical Xpress, April 2023

Researchers from Harvard’s Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB)’s Zon lab have discovered a new mechanism that influences melanoma development, a finding that could have wide implications for patients across a variety of cancers.

The discovery, as described this week in Science, involves a protein known as CDK13. “Before this paper, no one knew the role of CDK13 in cancer," said Megan Insco, a former postdoctoral fellow and first author of the paper.

Insco and her team found that the CDK13 protein acts as a tumor suppressor in melanoma and that mutation or loss of it can lead to the development of tumors. Working with melanoma patient data and the Zon zebrafish model, the team has learned what causes loss or mutation of the protein and how it can lead to cancer, including the underlying gene expression.