Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Critical Protein Discovered for Healthy Cell Growth in Mammals

28.01.2014
A team of researchers from Penn State University and the University of California has discovered a protein that is required for the growth of tiny, but critical, hair-like structures called cilia on cell surfaces.

The discovery has important implications for human health because lack of cilia can lead to serious diseases such as polycystic kidney disease, blindness and neurological disorders.


Using mouse models, Penn State cellular biologist Aimin Liu and his colleagues discovered a protein that is required for the growth of critical, hair-like structures called cilia on cell surfaces. The cilia on a mouse embryo, shown in this micrograph, would not be able to grow without the protein C2cd3. Credit: Aimin Liu Lab, Penn State University.

"If we want to better understand and treat diseases related to cilium development, we need to identify important regulators of cilium growth and learn how those regulators function," said co-author Aimin Liu, associate professor of biology at Penn State. "This work gives us significant insight into one of the earliest steps in cilium formation."

The researchers describe their findings in a paper that will be published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of 27 January 2014. In addition to Liu, authors include Penn State cellular biologists Xuan Ye, Huiqing Zeng and Gang Ning, as well as Jeremy F. Reiter, a biophysicist at the University of California - San Francisco.

Cilia, which are present on the surface of almost all mammalian cells, are responsible for sending, receiving, and processing information within the body. "You could think of cilia as the cells' antennae," Liu said. "Without cilia, the cells can't sense what's going on around them, and they can't communicate." Cilia also perform important filtering and cleansing functions. For example, cilia inside the trachea, or windpipe, trap and prevent bacteria from entering the lungs.

In a previous study, Liu and his colleagues learned that a protein called C2cd3 is important for cilium formation because mice that lacked this protein exhibited severe developmental problems typically associated with the lack of cilia. "At the time we knew only that if we get rid of the protein, the cells in the animal would not grow cilia," Liu said. "We didn't understand why, but now we do."

A cilium grows from a centriole, a structure that clings to the inner surface of the cell and serves as an anchor for the cilium. Before a cell can grow a cilium, it needs to assemble a set of appendages at one end of the centriole. These appendages can then connect the centriole to the cell surface, allowing the outgrowth of a cilium. Just how these appendages are assembled, though, remained a mystery for more than four decades since their discovery in 1962.

Liu and his colleagues found that appendages were not assembled at the end of the centriole when the C2cd3 protein is not present. As a result, the centriole is not associated with the cell membrane and cannot recruit other proteins for the further growth of the cilium. "So our protein is required for the very first step of putting a cilium together," Liu explained. "Without those appendages, the cilium growth cannot happen."

The researchers hope their discovery will lead to greater knowledge of the process of cilium development and, eventually, to treatments for a wide range of health problems that fall under the label of ciliopathy. "Ciliopathy is a scientific term that covers a lot of diseases," Liu said. As well as contributing to cystic disorders in the kidney and liver, lack of cilia can lead to blindness or deafness, since cilia in the retina serve as receptors that process light stimulation and cilia within the ear are required in neurons that translate sound waves into neural signals.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health (R01AR054396, R01GM095941), the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Packard Foundation, the Program for Breakthrough Biomedical Research, an American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant (0830174N) and Penn State University.

Contacts:
Aimin Liu: axl25@psu.edu, (+1) 814-865-7043
Barbara Kennedy (PIO): science@psu.edu, 814-863-4682

Krista Weidner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Unique genome architectures after fertilisation in single-cell embryos
30.03.2017 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

An LED-based device for imaging radiation induced skin damage

30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>