Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Regulator of death receptor discovered


Researchers at IMBA – Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences have discovered that an enzyme called HACE1 is the key regulator of the death receptor TNFR1. The TNF receptor 1 is located on the cell membrane and decides whether a cell will live or die.

In the human body there is a constant balance between cell growth and cell death. Cells that are old or diseased must be eliminated. The destruction of diseased cells plays a major role especially in infectious diseases, chronic inflammatory diseases, and cancer.

The enzyme HACE1 acts like a railway switch. It decides whether a cell will live or die.

Signals coming from death receptors located on the cell surface tell the cells whether they can continue to live and divide, or if they must take the path of destruction. The orderly path is apoptosis, in which the cell dismantles itself into its individual components and is taken up by phagocytes.

But there is another path to cell destruction. It is regulated by distinct signals, and is called necroptosis. It starts via the same signals as apoptosis, but then the cells commence self-digestion. As in pathological necrosis, the cell components make their way into the extracellular space, causing an inflammatory reaction in the surrounding tissue.

The TNF (tumour necrosis factor) receptor 1 is one of the most important death receptors. Luigi Tortola and Roberto Nitsch, co-first authors of a current publication in Cell Reports, discovered that “the enzyme HACE1 is the key regulator of the TNF receptor 1. If HACE1 binds to the receptor, either the “life signal” or the signal of controlled destruction, apoptosis, is transmitted. But if HACE1 is missing, there is no more survival or apoptosis; the only option left for the cell is necroptosis.”

The consequences can be seen in the current study, in which mice that lack the HACE1 enzyme are significantly more vulnerable to intestinal inflammation, and develop bowel cancer far more often due to constant inflammation. Josef Penninger, scientific director at IMBA and last author of the publication, was surprised at the findings:

“Many years ago I was in Canada when the tumour-suppressing effect of HACE1 was discovered. No one knew then how this mechanism worked. Now we have found that this effect comes about when HACE1 intervenes directly in cell fate and determines whether the cell with live or die, and especially how it will die. That is an utterly new discovery.”

The study also showed that the intestinal inflammation proven in mice and the frequent occurrence of bowel cancer can be improved significantly through genetic blockade of the death receptor. The scientists want to use this finding for further research.

Tortola, L., Nitsch, R. et. al. (2016). The tumor suppressor Hace1 is a critical regulator of TNFR1-mediated cell fate. Cell Reports.

About IMBA:
IMBA - Institute of Molecular Biotechnology is one of the leading biomedical research institutes in Europe focusing on cutting-edge functional genomics and stem cell technologies. IMBA is located at the Vienna Biocenter, the vibrant cluster of universities, research institutes and biotech companies in Austria. IMBA is a subsidiary of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the leading national sponsor of non-university academic research.

Evelyn Devuyst
IMBA Communications
Dr. Bohrgasse 3, 1030 Vienna, Austria
Tel.: +43 664 80847 – 3626

Weitere Informationen:

Mag. Evelyn Devuyst | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Second research flight into zero gravity

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

How Does Friendly Fire Happen in the Pancreas?

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>