Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How cells' sensing hairs are made

09.06.2011
Body cells detect signals that control their behavior through tiny hairs on the cell surface called cilia. Serious diseases and disorders can result when these cilia do not work properly. New research from UC Davis published this week in the journal Nature Cell Biology provides new insights into how these cilia are assembled.

“It’s a basic discovery, but with implications for understanding disease,” said Jonathan Scholey, professor of molecular and cellular biology at UC Davis and senior author of the study. Understanding how cilia are assembled and function can help scientists understand how conditions such as polycystic kidney disease and some growth and development disorders arise.

Cilia are built from bundles of microtubules made of a protein called tubulin. Scholey’s team discovered how two subunits of tubulin are winched into place by a type of protein motor belonging to a family of proteins called kinesins.

Scholey’s laboratory works with the soil roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, whose cilia are essentially the same as those of humans and other mammals. Postdoctoral scholar Limin Hao, Scholey and their colleagues screened a collection of worms for those with mutations that affected the cilia.

They found two genes which, when mutated, caused worms to lose the tips of their cilia. Both genes turned out to be subunits of tubulin that are assembled into different parts of the microtubule: one is found all along the microtubule, and the other is concentrated at the tip.

The UC Davis team used a combination of microscopy, molecular biology and computer modeling to study these two proteins. They found that both are moved into position by so-called kinesin-2 motors.

At one time, researchers had seen cilia as purely for movement, either moving a swimming cell through a fluid or moving fluid and suspended particles over the cell’s surface, Scholey said.

But in the late 1990s, researchers discovered that cilia were also involved in detecting signaling molecules that control gene expression and cell behavior. This signaling is vital for coordinating cell growth and the orderly development of tissues, for example in establishing left/right asymmetry in developing embryos.

“Recent work shows that cilia are ubiquitous in signaling,” Scholey said. In earlier work, Scholey’s lab linked a defect in the kinesins that assemble cilia to Bardet-Biedl disease, which causes blindness, kidney disease and learning difficulties.

Coauthors of the paper are: Melanie Thein, Ingrid Brust-Mascher, Gul Civelekoglu-Scholey and Seyda Acar, all at UC Davis; Yun Lu and Shai Shaham, Rockefeller University, New York; and Bram Prevo, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands, who was a visiting scholar in Scholey’s laboratory. Hao is now a researcher at Harvard Medical School and Thein is now a writer/editor at the UC Davis Cancer Center. The work was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Media contact(s):
Jonathan Scholey, Molecular and Cellular Biology, (530) 752-2271, jmscholey@ucdavis.edu

Andy Fell, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-4533, ahfell@ucdavis.edu

Andy Fell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucdavis.edu

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

“Pregnant” Housefly Males Demonstrate the Evolution of Sex Determination

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>