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Why you should eat more soy!

Published on 05.15.2023

– A dominant chemical ingredient in nutritional soy identified as a magic bullet against cancer

If you had hoped that all those soy lattes will pay off one day, here is the scientific proof that they will: A study led by Arthur Neuberger in our lab showed for the first time how a phytoestrogen called Genistein, a predominant isoflavone found in nutritional soy products, blocks the activity of the most notorious channel protein for the development and progression of human cancer: the calcium-conducting and cancer growth-driving ion channel TRPV6. This protein was found to be overexpressed in some of the most severe human cancer types, including leukaemia, breast, prostate, colon, ovarian, thyroid, and endometrial cancers. In addition, an ancestral variant of this oncochannel has emerged as a major driver of higher cancer incidence, mortality, and aggressiveness in people of African descent in the US. Inhibitors of TRPV6, such as Genistein, are therefore urgently needed.

“While pharmacological research and drug development have mostly focused on synthetic inhibitors of TRPV6, natural compounds have simply been overlooked,” – said Arthur, the lead author of this study, “And this happens despite the enormous benefits of natural compounds such as Genistein, that is, their superb pharmacokinetics which have been carefully optimized by nature in the course of evolution. In other words: nature made them safe for us to eat and enjoy! Natural compounds like Genistein therefore also represent a much-needed foundation for the development of next-generation anti-cancer drugs”.

This work is published in Nature Communication.

Amazing conformational rearrangements in human oncochannel TRPV6 upon binding of the natural plant-derived inhibitor phytoestrogen genistein, extracted from Styphnolobium japonicum!

This movie shows transformation of human TRPV6 from the open state (orange) to the closed blocked state (blue) and back upon binding and dissociation of the inhibitor genistein (yellow), respectively. The movie was made as a morph between the TRPV6Open and TRPV6GEN structures.