Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Impaired cell division leads to neuronal disorder

31.01.2014
Prof. Erich Nigg and his research group at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have discovered an amino acid signal essential for error-free cell division.

This signal regulates the number of centrosomes in the cell, and its absence results in the development of pathologically altered cells. Remarkably, such altered cells are found in people with a neurodevelopmental disorder, called autosomal recessive primary microcephaly. The results of these investigations have been published in the current issue of the US journal Current Biology.


Normal separation of chromosomes (blue) with two centrosomes (red) in a bipolar spindel apparatus (green).

Biozentrum, Universität Basel


Flawed separation of chromosomes (blue) with several centrosomes (red) in a multipolar spindel apparatus (green).

Biozentrum, Universität Basel

Cell division is the basis of all life. Of central importance is the error-free segregation of genetic material, the chromosomes. A flawless division process is a prerequisite for the development of healthy, new cells, whilst errors in cell division can cause illnesses such as cancer. The centrosome, a tiny cell organelle, plays a decisive role in this process.

Prof. Erich Nigg’s research group at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has investigated an important step in cell division: the duplication of the centrosome and its role in the correct segregation of the chromosomes into two daughter cells. The protein STIL has an essential function in this process. It ensures that centrosome duplicate before one half of the genetic material is transported into each of the two daughter cells.

KEN-Box important for protein breakdown
During cell division, the protein STIL is degraded. If this does not occur, the protein accumulates in the cell, which then causes an overproduction of centrosomes. As a consequence, mis-segregated chromosomes are incorporated into the daughter cells, which then represent cells with faulty genetic material. The scientists discovered an amino acid signal on the STIL protein, a so-called KEN-Box, and showed that this is critical for the breakdown of the protein: “The Ken-Box is the signal that orders the protein degradation machinery to break down the STIL protein,” explains Christian Arquint, the first author of this publication. In the absence of the KEN-Box, the protein is not degraded.
Absence of the KEN-Box causes microcephaly
In some patients with microcephaly, a neuronal disorder that leads to a reduced number of nerve cells being produced and, therefore, a smaller brain, the KEN-box is lacking from the STIL protein. The scientists were thus able to demonstrate a tantalizing connection between the absence of this particular amino acid signal and an illness. “When during our investigations of cell division and centrosome duplication we came across a connection to the disorder microcephaly, we were particularly pleased, as this helps us to better understand how this disorder develops,“ says Christian Arquint.

In the future, the research group led by Erich Nigg plans to uncover other connections between errors of cell division and the illness microcephaly. They also want to focus on the investigation of other proteins that play important roles in the process of cell division, in particular those involved in centrosome duplication.

Original Citation
Christian Arquint and Erich A. Nigg
STIL Microcephaly Mutations Interfere with APC/C-Mediated Degradation and Cause Centriole Amplification

Current Biology, 30 January 2014 | doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.12.016

Further Information

• Prof. Dr. Erich Nigg, University of Basel, Biozentrum,
phone: +41 61 267 16 56, Email: erich.nigg@unibas.ch
• Heike Sacher, Communications, Biozentrum, University of Basel,
phone: +41 61 267 14 49, email: heike.sacher@unibas.ch

Heike Sacher | Universität Basel
Further information:
http://www.unibas.ch

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht More than just a mechanical barrier – epithelial cells actively combat the flu virus
04.05.2016 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

nachricht Discovery of a fundamental limit to the evolution of the genetic code
03.05.2016 | 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: Nuclear Pores Captured on Film

Using an ultra fast-scanning atomic force microscope, a team of researchers from the University of Basel has filmed “living” nuclear pore complexes at work for the first time. Nuclear pores are molecular machines that control the traffic entering or exiting the cell nucleus. In their article published in Nature Nanotechnology, the researchers explain how the passage of unwanted molecules is prevented by rapidly moving molecular “tentacles” inside the pore.

Using high-speed AFM, Roderick Lim, Argovia Professor at the Biozentrum and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute of the University of Basel, has not only directly...

Im Focus: 2+1 is Not Always 3 - In the microworld unity is not always strength

If a person pushes a broken-down car alone, there is a certain effect. If another person helps, the result is the sum of their efforts. If two micro-particles are pushing another microparticle, however, the resulting effect may not necessarily be the sum their efforts. A recent study published in Nature Communications, measured this odd effect that scientists call “many body.”

In the microscopic world, where the modern miniaturized machines at the new frontiers of technology operate, as long as we are in the presence of two...

Im Focus: Tiny microbots that can clean up water

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute Stuttgart have developed self-propelled tiny ‘microbots’ that can remove lead or organic pollution from contaminated water.

Working with colleagues in Barcelona and Singapore, Samuel Sánchez’s group used graphene oxide to make their microscale motors, which are able to adsorb lead...

Im Focus: ORNL researchers discover new state of water molecule

Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.

In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory describe a new tunneling state of...

Im Focus: Bionic Lightweight Design researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute at Hannover Messe 2016

Honeycomb structures as the basic building block for industrial applications presented using holo pyramid

Researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) will introduce their latest developments in the field of bionic lightweight design at Hannover Messe from 25...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The “AC21 International Forum 2016” is About to Begin

27.04.2016 | Event News

Soft switching combines efficiency and improved electro-magnetic compatibility

15.04.2016 | Event News

Grid-Supportive Buildings Give Boost to Renewable Energy Integration

12.04.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New fabrication and thermo-optical tuning of whispering gallery microlasers

04.05.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Introducing the disposable laser

04.05.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

A new vortex identification method for 3-D complex flow

04.05.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>