Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Identification of new genes shows a complex path to cell death

18.12.2007
UMass Medical School investigators define multi-step pathway that allows for cell survival and death

Can a tiny winged insect’s salivary glands really tell us about processes relevant to human disease" Yes, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), who gained new insights into autophagy—a cellular degradation process associated with a form of programmed cell death—by studying the salivary gland cells of the fruit fly.

Since its initial discovery in the 1960s, programmed cell death has been a primary focus of studies for investigators across a wide array of scientific disciplines. An essential mechanism in development and homeostasis, programmed cell death allows for the clean intracellular destruction of unnecessary or damaged cells. While apoptosis is the most understood type of programmed cell death, recently scientists have begun to take a closer look at autophagy— a highly regulated, catabolic process that essentially allows a cell to eat itself. Paradoxically, autophagy is not only a major mechanism by which a starving cell reallocates nutrients to ensure survival, scientists are now demonstrating that autophagy also provides cells that cannot undergo apoptosis with an alternate form of self-destruction.

In “Growth arrest and autophagy are required for salivary gland cell degradation in Drosophila,” published in the December 14 issue of Cell, Eric Baehrecke, PhD, UMMS Associate Professor of Cancer Biology, and colleagues examined fly salivary glands, which contain all of the machinery required to dismantle and recycle their own cellular components and thus provide a genetic model system for elucidating the complex functions of autophagy. The paper describes the cellular components required for autophagic cell death and defines multiple pathways that cooperate in the clearance of cells during fly development. Further, their findings demonstrate a critical relationship between growth and this form of cell death.

“When cells keep growing, they don’t die well,” Dr. Baehrecke explained. “We show that an arrest of growth preceded the death of these cells. If we maintain growth by turning on certain genes, we can block the death of these cells, and this has potential clinical implications. Therapies directed at apoptotic mechanisms have resulted in limited success; we hope that further studies of autophagy could lead to new approaches to the treatment of human disease.”

“It’s becoming increasingly important to understand how the various cell death pathways connect and how they affect development, the stress response, and disease,” said Marion Zatz, PhD, who oversees cell death grants at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which funded the work. “While this research was done in fruit flies, findings made in model organisms are often the first step in understanding what goes on in humans. By shedding light on autophagic cell death, this work may help explain the pathway’s role in human diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.”

“The role of autophagy during cell death remains controversial but is important to our understanding and treatment of many human disorders including cancer and neurodegeneration,” Baehrecke said. “It is important to understand the relationship between autophagy and cell death, as the association of autophagy with cell growth, nutrient utilization, survival and death indicates that this catabolic process is relevant to the treatment of many human disorders including cancer.”

Kelly Bishop | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umassmed.edu

Further reports about: autophagy cell death gland pathway programmed cell death salivary

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>