Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A recent IRCM breakthrough impacts cancer research

29.10.2010
Researchers uncover a key mechanism in the control of cell motility

A team of scientists at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) led by Dr. Jean-François Côté, Director of the Cytoskeletal Organization and Cell Migration research unit, identified a novel molecular mechanism in the control of cell motility.

Their findings were published online today in Current Biology, a journal from the Cell Press group. This scientific breakthrough could eventually lead to the development of new cancer-treating drugs that could block the spread of tumours (metastasis).

"As many as 90% of cancer patient deaths are attributable to metastasis, which explains the importance of understanding the molecular mechanisms at the basis of this harmful process," says Dr. Côté. "This is why, over the past few years, we have focused our research on DOCK180, a protein involved in intracellular signalling networks, and more particularly on the DOCK180/Rac1 signalling pathway, which is suspected to be a key mediator of tumour metastasis."

Unlike normal cells that migrate throughout embryonic and adult life to perform their specialized functions, cancer cells metastasize in order to lethally spread throughout the body. At a molecular level, DOCK180 specifically activates the small Rac1 protein, which, in turn, modifies a cell's shape and promotes cell motility and invasion. Dr. Côté's team had previously demonstrated in detail how DOCK180, with the help of its binding partner ELMO, acts on Rac1 to promote robust cell migration.

"We knew that this signalling pathway had to be regulated to prevent uncontrolled cell migration in normal conditions, but until now, the mechanisms involved had been eluding us and other scientists," explains Manishha Patel, a PhD student in Dr. Côté's laboratory and co-author of the study. "With our recent findings, we demonstrated that the ELMO protein closes in on itself to enter a repressed state, thus preventing the activation of the DOCK180/Rac pathway."

"Our team identified three regions in ELMO that allow it to toggle between a closed/inactive and open/active shape," adds Dr. Yoran Margaron, a postdoctoral fellow in the same research unit and one of the article's co-authors. "We showed that if we disrupt ELMO's regulatory feature and maintain the protein in an open state, we can fully activate the DOCK180/Rac pathway and significantly increase the migration potential of cells."

The researchers' next step is to investigate the regulation of ELMO in cancer cells. Based on their latest findings, they will attempt to maintain ELMO in a repressed state within cancer cells to prevent metastasis, which could have a major impact on the development of potential cancer treatments.

This research project was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI). Other collaborators for this study include Nadine Fradet, Qi Yang and Brian Wilkes from the IRCM, as well as Dr. Michel Bouvier from the Institut de recherche en immunologie et en cancérologie (IRIC), and Dr. Kay Hoffman from Miltenyi Biotec in Germany.

For more information, please refer to the online article published by Current Biology. The print publication will be available on November 23, 2010.

Julie Langelier | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ircm.qc.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

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

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>