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 Locusts provide insight into brain response to stimuli, senses
28.04.2015 | Washington University in St. Louis

nachricht Discovery of an unexpected function of a protein linked to neurodegenerative diseases
28.04.2015 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fast and Accurate 3-D Imaging Technique to Track Optically-Trapped Particles

KAIST researchers published an article on the development of a novel technique to precisely track the 3-D positions of optically-trapped particles having complicated geometry in high speed in the April 2015 issue of Optica.

Daejeon, Republic of Korea, April 23, 2015--Optical tweezers have been used as an invaluable tool for exerting micro-scale force on microscopic particles and...

Im Focus: NOAA, Tulane identify second possible specimen of 'pocket shark' ever found

Pocket sharks are among the world's rarest finds

A very small and rare species of shark is swimming its way through scientific literature. But don't worry, the chances of this inches-long vertebrate biting...

Im Focus: Drexel materials scientists putting a new spin on computing memory

Ever since computers have been small enough to be fixtures on desks and laps, their central processing has functioned something like an atomic Etch A Sketch, with electromagnetic fields pushing data bits into place to encode data.

Unfortunately, the same drawbacks and perils of the mechanical sketch board have been just as pervasive in computing: making a change often requires starting...

Im Focus: Exploding stars help to understand thunderclouds on Earth

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer - how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was discovered, more or less by coincidence, that cosmic rays provide suitable probes to measure electric fields within thunderclouds. This surprising finding is published in Physical Review Letters on April 24th. The measurements were performed with the LOFAR radio telescope located in the Netherlands.

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer - how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was...

Im Focus: On the trail of a trace gas

Max Planck researcher Buhalqem Mamtimin determines how much nitrogen oxide is released into the atmosphere from agriculturally used oases.

In order to make statements about current and future air pollution, scientists use models which simulate the Earth’s atmosphere. A lot of information such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

HHL Energy Conference on May 11/12, 2015: Students Discuss about Decentralized Energy

23.04.2015 | Event News

“Developing our cities, preserving our planet”: Nobel Laureates gather for the first time in Asia

23.04.2015 | Event News

HHL's Entrepreneurship Conference on FinTech

13.04.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Siemens opens new location for eCar Powertrain Systems Business Unit

28.04.2015 | Press release

Innovative LED high power light source with up to six wavelengths

28.04.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

‘Dead zones’ found in Atlantic open waters

28.04.2015 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>