Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Well-known protein reveals new tricks

07.09.2012
UCSF study shows clathrin protein moonlights, playing key role in cell division

A protein called "clathrin," which is found in every human cell and plays a critical role in transporting materials within them, also plays a key role in cell division, according to new research at the University of California, San Francisco.

The discovery, featured on the cover of the Journal of Cell Biology in August, sheds light on the process of cell division and provides a new angle for understanding cancer. Without clathrin, cells divide erratically and unevenly—a phenomenon that is one of the hallmarks of the disease.

"Clathrin is doing more than we thought it was doing," said Frances Brodsky, DPhil, who led the research. Brodsky is a professor in the UCSF Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, a joint department of the Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine, and she holds joint appointments in Microbiology and Immunology, as well as Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

A Protein Essential for Transportation in More Than One Route

Akin to a three-pronged building block in a child's construction set, clathrin can provide links to create larger complexes. When lots of these proteins are assembled together, they can form tough little cages into which cells packs many of their essential biological molecules—hormones, neurotransmitters, membrane proteins and other payloads that need to be transported throughout the cell.

Once thought to be solely involved in transport inside cells, scientists have uncovered more and more of the protein's hidden functions in the last half-dozen years, including some roles it plays in cell division.

For instance, they learned several years ago about its role in the function of "spindles." Normally when a cell divides, it forms a spindle by laying down tracks of structural proteins, and uses them as scaffolding to separate the cell's DNA (in the form of chromosomes) into two equal collections—one identical set of DNA for each of the new daughter cells. Scientists found that clathrin is involved in stabilizing these spindles.

Now, however, Brodsky and her colleagues have shown that clathrin does even more. They deleted clathrin from cells using a technique called RNA interference, which involves infusing in small genetic fragments that block the cell from making the clathrin. Doing so, Brodsky and her colleagues showed that clathrin stabilizes the structures in dividing cells known as centrosomes.

Tagged with fluorescent chemicals and viewed under a microscope, the centrosomes within a cell that is about to divide look like two glowing eyes peering through the dark. But without clathrin, the team determined, the eyes increase in number.

Brodsky and her colleagues traced this effect to a protein complex formed by one particular component of clathrin called CHC17, which directly stabilizes the centrosome and helps it mature. Deleting CHC17 or chemically inactivating it, led to cells with a strange appearance. These cells contained multiple, fragmented centrosomes instead of the normal two and built abnormal spindles.

This discovery may reveal pathways towards abnormalities of chromosome segregation associated with cancer, said Brodsky.

The article, "Clathrin promotes centrosome integrity in early mitosis through stabilization of centrosomal ch-TOG" by Amy B. Foraker, Stéphane M. Camus, Timothy M. Evans, Sophia R. Majeed, Chih-Ying Chen, Sabrina B. Taner, Ivan R. Corrêa Jr., Stephen J. Doxsey and Frances M. Brodsky appears in the August 20, 2012 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology. See: http://dx.doi.org/10.1083/jcb.201205116

In addition to the group at UCSF, authors on this study are affiliated with New England Biolabs, Inc., in Ipswich, MA, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA.

Jason Socrates Bardi | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsf.edu

Further reports about: CHC17 DNA UCSF cell death cell division synthetic biology

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>