DNA The molecule that carries the genetic information of a cell.

DNA is composed of two strands of nucleotides that twist around each other to make the shape of a double helix. DNA Polymerase An enzyme that is used to replicate deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecules. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) A protein that stimulates cell growth and proliferation. EGF was originally isolated from assays that stimulate epithelial cell growth; EGF does work as a growth promoter on other cell types as well. Epidermal growth factor receptor A membrane-spanning protein that binds to EGF and activates the cell growth and proliferation pathway. Her-2 is a specific example of an EGF receptor. Estrogen A hormone that is necessary for cell growth and proliferation in breast cells. Estrogen receptor A protein that binds estrogen in the blood and carries it into breast cells. The complex then activates cell growth and proliferation in the nucleus. Fos A protein that interacts with the Jun protein to form AP-1, a transcription factor. When active, Fos and Jun bind together via a stretch of leucine amino acids that mesh like teeth in a zipper. The other ends of the proteins bind DNA to begin the transcription of growth-promoting genes. Researchers speculate that mutations in Fos and Jun may make them bind abnormally, activating target genes without responding to the usual controls. Fos is also present at high levels in cancers such as colon cancer. guanosine diphosphate A small molecule essential to the regulation of signaling pathways in living cells. GDP is formed when a phosphate group is removed from guanosine triphosphate (GTP). Some signal proteins, such as Ras, are active when bound to GTP, and inactive when bound to GDP. Gleevec A small molecule being used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia. Gleevec was designed to bind to the mutant protein BCR-ABL thus blocking the signal for the overproliferation of white blood cells.

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