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Hyaluronan synthase 2 (HAS2); hyaluronidase 2 (HYAL2)

In vitro and rodent studies suggest extremely high molecular mass hyaluronan (HMM-HA) could help treat cancer. Cultured fibroblasts from the naked mole rat, a cancer-resistant species, synthesize HMM-HA and undergo growth arrest earlier and at lower cell densities than mouse and guinea pig fibroblasts that synthesize hyaluronan. In naked mole rat fibroblasts, an antibody that blocks the interaction between HMM-HA and its receptor inhibited early growth arrest. In mice injected with transformed naked mole fibroblasts, cells with decreased expression of HMM-HA by overexpression of Hyal2 or knockdown of Has2 increased tumor formation compared with cells with wild-type HMM-HA expression. Next steps include generating knock-in and transgenic mouse models that express naked mole rat Has2 and developing inhibitors against Hyal2.

SciBX 6(29); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.751
Published online Aug. 1, 2013

Patent application filed; available for licensing

Tian, X. et al. Nature; published online June 19, 2013;
Contact: Andrei Seluanov, University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y.

Contact: Vera Gorbunova, same affiliation as above