Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah have discovered that a protein, zyxin, is necessary for the maintenance and repair of the cell's cytoskeleton, or internal framework, which serves as the muscle and bone of the cell. The research has implications for cancer, as well as other diseases, since alterations in the cytoskeleton are often associated with disease. The research was published in the Sep. 14, 2010, issue of the journal Developmental Cell.
"Just like people, the cells in our bodies are exposed to all kinds of stress," says Mary Beckerle, Ph.D., the study's principal investigator and HCI executive director. "One type of stress, mechanical stress that is derived from application of physical force, is experienced by many organs such as the lung, which stretches with each breath, the heart, which is physically challenged with each beat, and the uterus, which undergoes intense contractions during labor and childbirth. We were interested in how living cells respond to such stress. In this study, we showed that mechanical stress can damage the cytoskeleton but that cells have special machinery that rapidly recognizes the damage and repairs it."
Mark Smith, Ph.D., one of the HCI researchers involved in the study explains that, "When a cell's environment changes and stress is applied, cytoskeletal bundles, called actin stress fibers, can literally begin to tear, but then are rapidly repaired. This process begins within seconds and allows the cell to retain its structure. We showed that a protein called zyxin is required for the maintenance and repair of the actin cytoskeleton." Zyxin expression is down-regulated in certain cancers and future experiments will explore whether loss of this cytoskeletal repair pathway in tumor cells is responsible for the disruption of the cytoskeleton that is common in cancer cells.
The researchers studied the process by imaging live cells that expressed fluorescently tagged cytoskeletal proteins. This allowed them to observe the mechanism whereby actin stress fibers maintain homeostasis, or balance. The repair mechanism was directly triggered by force and served to relieve mechanical stress on actin stress fibers, which in turn provided a system for rapid response to force changes in the extracellular environment.
The study was funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Other HCI researchers involved in the study include Elizabeth Blankman and Laura Luettjohann. Margaret L. Gardel from the University of Chicago, and Clare M. Waterman, from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, also contributed to the work.
The mission of Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at The University of Utah is to understand cancer from its beginnings, to use that knowledge in the creation and improvement of cancer treatments, to relieve the suffering of cancer patients, and to provide education about cancer risk, prevention, and care. HCI is a National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center, which means that it meets the highest national standards for cancer care and research and receives support for its scientific endeavors. HCI is also a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a not-for-profit alliance of the world's leading cancer centers that is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. For more information about HCI, please visit www.huntsmancancer.org.
Linda Aagard | EurekAlert!
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research