Guest post from Dr. John Chodera, UC Berkeley
Kinases [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinase] are the molecular logic gates of the cell. These important proteins integrate critical signaling information in every cell of our bodies, becoming active only when specific upstream signals are received. However, in many kinds of cancer, mutations can emerge in one or more kinases that cause them to ignore these regulatory signals and become active all the time. If these kinases are involved in cell division, this can erroneously cause cells to keep dividing even when they shouldn't, potentially resulting in a form of cancer.