Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New insights on cell competition

17.09.2012
A research project led by CNIO scientists clarifies how tissues and organs select the 'best' cells for themselves, at the expense of 'losers' who might cause disease

Scientists from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) describe how natural selection also occurs at the cellular level, and how our body's tissues and organs strive to retain the best cells in their ranks in order to fend off disease processes. These results appear this week in the new issue of Cell Reports. The research, carried out in the CNIO, is led by Eduardo Moreno, who is currently working at the University of Bern in Switzerland.

Recent studies suggest that natural selection described by Charles Darwin also occurs at the cellular level, as our body's tissues and organs strive to retain the best cells in their ranks in order to fend off disease processes.

Pancreatic cells perform very different functions from skin cells – insulin secretion and barrier protection respectively – even though their genetic material is exactly identical; and this is true of the 200 different cell types that form a human being.

Despite burgeoning interest in the mechanisms of cell competition, which keep all such functions running smoothly in each body compartment, the exact cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for maintaining this homeostasis have yet to be established.

Through their studies on fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), among the most widely used animal models in research, the authors of the paper have been able to show that cell competition proceeds in various stages.

First, the cells picked as winners for their superior ability to perform cell functions eliminate the loser cells via programmed cell death or apoptosis. Then the dead cells' remains are ingested by the haemocytes, the fly equivalent of our macrophages.

"The paper's main contribution is that we provide first-time evidence of the role of the haemocytes, cells circulating in the fly haemolymph, in eliminating cell residues during competition", explains first author Fidel Lolo.

Co-author Sergio Casas-Tintó adds that the study's results indicate that the genes necessary for the haemocytes to eliminate these residues – in a process known as phagocytosis – are not required for the apoptosis of loser cells.

"We suggest that phagocytosis is not a cause but a consequence of cell death", affirms Eduardo Moreno, "and more work will need doing to determine the forces governing the selection and subsequent destruction of losers".

IMPLICATIONS ON CANCER

Cell competition is closely linked to pathogenic processes such as cancer. "There is growing evidence for the importance of these processes at tumour borders, where biological markers suggest an accumulation of dead cells, as if we were contemplating a line of battle", Lolo continues.

Understanding the mechanisms of cell competition may provide crucial insights into the earliest stages of a tumour's formation, favouring early detection, even without macroscopic evidence, and the design of new drugs able to block tumour growth from the very first development stages.

Referente article:

Cell competition timeline: winners kill losers, which are extruded and engulfed by hemocytes. Fidel-Nicolaìs Lolo, Sergio Casas Tinto and Eduardo Moreno. Cell Reports (2012). doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2012.08.012

Nuria Noriega | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cnio.es/es/index.asp

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

nachricht Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system
21.04.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>