Cells 'talk' to each other through a complex process called 'signalling'. When these signals go wrong, it can lead to all kinds of diseases, including cancer, diabetes and arthritis, to name but a few.
Scientists have long been able to see how cells send and receive signals at their outer skins, or membranes, but much of what happens afterwards has not been fully understood. As a result, many drugs on the market work without scientists knowing precisely how or what consequences they have for cell function.
Researchers at The University of Manchester in England have now developed a technique that will allow scientists to understand how these signals pass from the cell membrane into the cell itself, triggering a complex set of biological processes that have never been fully understood.
The research, published in the prestigious journal Science Signaling, will spark intense interest among the global scientific community, as they will hopefully lead to better drug design and faster drug delivery times. In addition, the findings will also provide biologists with a completely new insight into how our bodies work.
"Cell signalling is a fundamental biological process that is essential for life and when it goes wrong, disease results," said Professor Martin Humphries, lead researcher on the project and Dean of Manchester's Faculty of Life Sciences.
"Signals allow cells to 'taste' their environment in a similar fashion to how we taste food and drink. As an analogy, red wines have subtly different flavours, comprising a combination of hints of berries, oak, tobacco and liquorice. The same is true for cells that taste the thousands of molecules that make up their immediate environment.
"Our findings explain how cells might interpret these various flavours at a molecular level to generate an overall signal or taste. To do this, we have developed a technique that will allow scientists to examine how the receptors on the surface of cells pass information to the hundreds of proteins inside the cell that create the signal. Uniquely, our findings will allow scientists to look at all these hundreds of components at the same time."
The team's findings will finally allow scientists to observe how drugs work at an intracellular level, which will allow them to fully understand how they interact with the hundreds of cell receptors at the same time and what side-effects they are likely to produce.
Professor Humphries added: "Our findings will be of great interest to scientists and pharmaceutical companies as they open up new avenues for drug development and testing."
Aeron Haworth | EurekAlert!
Scientists discover species of dolphin that existed along South Carolina coast
24.08.2017 | New York Institute of Technology
The science of fluoride flipping
24.08.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
24.08.2017 | Life Sciences
24.08.2017 | Life Sciences
24.08.2017 | Medical Engineering