The research teams headed by Prof. Johanna Ivaska (University of Turku and VTT
Technical Research Centre of Finland) and Prof. Marko Salmi (University of
Turku and the National Institute for Health and Welfare) have discovered that
the SHARPIN protein regulates human cell activity.
Published in a leading journal, the study concludes that SHARPIN regulates the
movement and activity of inflammatory cells and of lung and prostate cancer
cells. It is likely that the discovery will also have significant implications
for other conditions such as Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, rheumatism and even
The hypothesis that there must be a protein that inhibits
cell activity was posited as far back as in the early 1990s. Researchers have
now shown that SHARPIN is the hypothesised protein.
Rantala and Jeroen Pouwels, members of Prof. Ivaska’s research team,
discovered the role of SHARPIN using a cell chip screening method developed at
VTT. Using this method, the impacts of all genes in an entire genome can be
examined in a single test.
The study was the cover feature in
the November issue of Nature Cell Biology, the most distinguished journal in
the field of cell biology.