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 Programming cells with computer-like logic
27.07.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics
27.07.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Programming cells with computer-like logic

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period

27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>