Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study offers first explanation of how cells rapidly repair and maintain structure

22.09.2010
Insight may lead to better understanding of how cells respond to stress

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!
Further information:
http://www.hci.utah.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

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: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>