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 New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>