The Magic of Merlin: Antibodies Point to New Role in Liver Cancer

Mon, 10/11/2010 - 06:59

The Merlin protein belongs to the ezrin/radixin/moesin (ERM) family of tumour suppressor proteins. Encoded by the rather less imaginatively named Neurofibromin 2 (NF2) gene, it is thought to play a role in extracellular signal transduction, linking the cell cytoskeleton with membrane-bound proteins and suppressing several receptors, including the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). The Merlin antibodies in our antibody catalog are widely used in cancer studies, since overexpression of EGFR is known to cause several cancers.

NF2 itself can act as an oncogene - first discovered through its connection with neurofibromatosis 2, a rare genetic disorder. NF2 mutations can also cause neuronal tumors. Recently, a study led by a team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital revealed a possible new role for Merlin – that of being a potent hepatic oncogene. It was discovered that NF2 mutations in mouse livers led to the rise of two distinct types of liver cancer, similar to those seen in humans. It was suggested that the origins of the tumors lay in the stem cells.

Immunocytochemistry/Immunofluorescence: Merlin Antibody Immunocytochemistry/Immunofluorescence: Merlin Antibody

Liver tissue has amazing powers of regeneration, able to “regrow” new lobes if they are damaged or removed. The stem cells that allow this to happen are mainly hepatocytes, assisted by the less well differentiated progenitor cells. These cells proliferate if the hepatocytes are blocked or damaged, taking over their role. At present, progenitor cells have only been properly identified in rodents. However, similar human cells have been identified, though not confirmed.

The study revealed NF2-deficiency led to overproduction of progenitor cells, leading to tumor development. It was suggested that regulation of progenitor cell production is dependent upon the Merlin protein. We at Novus Biologicals have a variety of top-quality Merlin-related products on our antibody database.

Novus Biologicals offers many Merlin reagents for your research needs including:


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