Gene of the month - Scribble
Kat:: And finally it's time for our gene of the month, and this time it's Scribble. It was originally identified in fruit flies, but similar genes are found across a wide range of organisms, from humans to parasites. Scribble is involved in cell polarity - how cells tell which way is up. This is vital for building a body correctly, and also important in processes such as cancer.
In fact, Scribble is a type of gene known as a tumour suppressor - experiments in mice have shown that it's normally involved in making breast tissue develop normally and prevents breast cells from developing into cancer. In turn, faults in Scribble increase the chances of breast tumours developing. At the other end of the spectrum, researchers are investigating the molecules that interact with Scribble in schistosome parasitic worms, responsible for schistosomiasis. This could shed light on future drugs to treat the disease, which affects more than 2 million people worldwide.