TMS1/ASC: The cancer connection
TMS1/ASC is a bipartite protein comprising two protein-protein interaction domains, a pyrin domain (PYD) and a caspase recruitment domain (CARD). Proteins containing these domains play pivotal roles in regulating apoptosis and immune response pathways, and mutations in a number of PYD- and CARD-containing proteins have been linked to autoinflammatory diseases and cancer. Indeed, one of the ways in which TMS1/ASC was identified was as a target of methylation-mediated silencing in breast cancer cells. This review discusses the mounting evidence supporting a correlation between the silencing of TMS1/ASC expression and cancer. In addition, it addresses the reported functions of TMS1/ASC that include apoptosis, activation of inflammatory caspases and regulation of NF-kappa B, and discusses the potential ways in which loss of TMS1/ASC contributes to carcinogenesis.
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