BCR-ABL: Protein Structure and Function
This tutorial describes the structure and function of the cancer-causing protein BCR-ABL. It also shows how drugs targeting this protein can help treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), a cancer of the white blood cells.
In CML, white blood cells divide uncontrollably due to an overactive tyrosine kinase protein called BCR-ABL. Scientists developed a drug called Gleevec that binds to and inactivates BCR-ABL. Additional mutations in BCR-ABL can result in Gleevec-resistant forms of cancer.
The accompanying worksheets guide students’ exploration. The “Overview Worksheet” provides an introduction to the cell cycle as it relates to cancer. The “In-Depth Worksheet” provides a more comprehensive review of the cell cycle and the molecules that regulate each phase.
Student Learning Targets
- Describe the function of BCR-ABL and how it differs from that of ABL, its counterpart in non-cancer cells.
- Explain how the structure of BCR-ABL accounts for its function.
- Propose a drug development strategy for treating CML.
ATP, cancer, dasatinib, Gleevec, health care, imatinib, medicine, mutation, protein conformation, tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)
HS-LS1-1, HS-LS1-2, HS-LS1-4; SEP4, SEP6
AP Biology (2019)
IST-1.E, IST-3.C, IST-3.F, IST-3.G, SYI-1.D; SP1, SP4, SP6
IB Biology (2016)
2.4, 2.5, 2.8, 3.1, 8.2, B.4
Common Core (2010)
Vision and Change (2009)