Research Highlight

Protein behind cervical cancer found

doi:10.1038/nindia.2013.94 Published online 19 July 2013

Researchers have found an interesting link between the expression of a particular protein and the growth of cervical cancer cells. This provides a new molecular therapy target for the deadly cancer, the third most common malignancy among women.

Earlier, the researchers had reported an association of the expression of this protein — A-kinase anchor protein 4 (AKAP4) — in cervical cancer patient specimens, indicating that it could be used as an immunotherapeutic target. However, the possible involvement of AKAP4 in carcinogenesis and tumor progression had not been unraveled.

The researchers examined the association of AKAP4 with malignant properties of cervical cancer cells including cellular growth, colony-forming ability, migration and invasion using the RNAi approach.

They determined the expression and subcellular localization of AKAP4 protein in four cervical cancer cells (C-33A, CaSki, HeLa and SiHa). They detected AKAP4 in the cytoplasm, plasma membrane, endoplasmic reticulum, golgi body and mitochondria of cervical cancer cells, but did not find it in the nuclear envelope. The surface expression of AKAP4 in cervical cancer cells indicated its potent immunogenicity in cervical cancer patients.

Further, gene silencing studies indicated that AKAP4 depletion in cervical cancer cells led to significant suppression of cellular growth, colony-forming ability, migration and invasion.


  1. Saini, S. et al. Gene silencing of A-kinase anchor protein 4 inhibits cervical cancer growth in vitro and in vivo. Cancer Gene Ther. 20, 413-420 (2013)  | Article | PubMed |