Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research pinpoints action of protein linked to key molecular switch

20.04.2010
Findings may illuminate how cancer forms and migrates

Rho proteins have been described as "molecular switches" and play a role in cell migration, cell proliferation, cell death, gene expression, and multiple other common cellular functions.

Understanding the actions of Rho proteins is important to illuminating cellular mechanisms related to cancer, which is fundamentally a disease of cell misbehavior. When cells multiply too rapidly, multiply and migrate into inappropriate places in the body, do not die after their natural lifespan or create networks of blood vessels where they should not, cancer results.

A study led by Keith Burridge, PhD, professor of cell and developmental biology, published online April 18 in the journal Nature Cell Biology, demonstrates that a protein called Rho GDI1 is a key to maintaining a balance of Rho proteins that allow optimal cellular functioning.

Traditionally scientists have understood the regulation of these proteins to be a function of “on” or “off” switching and that Rho GDI was a passive player in this process. This study demonstrates that the mechanism is more subtle, like a dimmer switch on a lighting panel that allows for a spectrum of levels. Rho proteins are inherently unstable because they are partially made up of a lipid (or fat). RhoGDI contains a “pocket” that can bind this lipid, thus protecting it.

One of the most important findings from this study is that changes in the expression level of one Rho protein can affect the expression levels and activities of other members of the family. In cells there is a limited amount of RhoGDI, and many different Rho proteins compete for binding to RhoGDI. The authors show that, when the protein levels of a particular Rho protein are artificially increased, the other Rho proteins are displaced from RhoGDI and degraded. Notably, previous studies have shown that many cancers exhibit altered levels of Rho proteins, raising the possibility that RhoGDI may be playing an important role in the biology of these cancer cells.

The authors hope that their work will help scientists better understand the subtle balancing mechanism that keeps cells functioning optimally, eventually leading to therapies that might target the balance of these proteins to prevent the cellular misbehavior that leads to cancers. The authors present preliminary results with two different cancer cell lines showing a correlation between the expression levels of RhoGDI and the levels and activities of Rho proteins.

The research team includes additional investigators from UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, UNC McAllister Heart Institute, Nice Sophia Antipolis University in France and Northwestern University in Chicago.

The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, a Department of Defense Breast Cancer Predoctoral Fellowship, a Susan Komen Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, a AHA Beginning Grant in Aid, an AHA Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Fondation pur la Recherche Medicale Fellowship and an Allocation INSERM InCa/AVENIR.

Ellen de Graffenreid | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unc.edu

Further reports about: AHA Cancer RhoGDI UNC blood vessel cell death cellular function cellular mechanism

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion

24.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials

24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

ADIR Project: Lasers Recover Valuable Materials

24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>