protein of the month- Prune



This is a prune, I believe that that’s basically a dried plum. It is very very healthy and contains lots of vitamins and fibers and all this important stuff , however most people don’t seem to like it all that much.

There are also at least two proteins, called prune, PRUNE 1 and PRUNE 2, as well as several prune-like proteins.

As many others PRUNE has first been discovered in Drosophila melanogaster.


Prune changes the eye-color of flies, when mutated. This is not very exciting, but it explains the name, the new eye color is similar to that of a prune. This is because the levels of drosopteridins, pigments that color the eyes red, are reduced.

The more exiting part here is that in combination with a second mutation, “killer of prune” (Drosophila geneticists really do give their proteins funny names), mutations in PRUNE kill Drosophila in the second or third larval state.

“Killer of PRUNE” turned out to not actually be a gene by itself, but rather a specific mutation in a gene that is boringly, but aptly called abnormal wing disc, awd.

The biochemical connection between those to proteins was only understood after in 1999 the mammalian homologue of PRUNE, hPRUNE, was discovered and its interactions with the homologue of awd, nm23-H1, was investigated. It turns out that PRUNE negatively regulates nm23-H1, which is an oncogene. Failure to inhibit nm23-H1 can lead to neuroblastoma in humans and mice.

Sturtevant AH. A Highly Specific Complementary Lethal System in Drosophila Melanogaster. Genetics. 1956 Jan;41(1):118-23.

J Biggs, N Tripoulas, E Hersperger, C Dearolf, and A Shearn Analysis of the lethal interaction between the prune and Killer of prune mutations of Drosophila. Genes & Dev. 1988. 2: 1333-1343

A Reymond, S Volorio, G Merla, M Al-Maghtheh, O Zuffardi, A Bulfone, A Ballabio and M Zollo Evidence for interaction between human PRUNE and nm23-H1 NDPKinase Oncogene 1999 18:7244-7252

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