Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A study reveals how cells communicate to activate the cell division machinery

06.05.2008
A study performed by researchers at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) on the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, unveils how distinct signaling pathways operate between neighboring cells in order to activate the cell proliferation machinery that results in the organized growth of the fly wing.

The signaling pathways involved in this process are also conserved in humans, and when altered in diverse tissues give rise to the appearance of different types of cancer, including cancer of the colon and skin, and leukemia.

The study has been undertaken in the Cell and Development Biology Laboratory headed by ICREA Research Professor, Marco Milán, at IRB Barcelona, and has been released in and advanced online format by the EMBO Journal.

The researchers have shown that the Notch and Wnt/Wingless signaling pathways exert control over the cell division machinery through two gene effectors, the proto-oncogen dMyc and the micro-RNA bantam. Regulated by Notch and Wnt/Wingless, these two genes instruct another gene, E2F, to activate the cell division machinery.

“All the components were already known but we have clarified the order in the signaling cascade and the interaction between the molecular elements that regulate proliferation for the correct development of the wing”, explains Héctor Herranz, first author of the article.

Marco Milán: “Diseases like cancer cannot be understood without taking into account how the distinct molecular elements are integrated”.

Notch and Wnt/Wingless play a key role in embryo development, cell growth (proliferation) and the transformation of cells into specialized types (differentiation). The interesting feature is that these two pathways are highly conserved in humans and when mutations arise tumors appear. The fruit fly wing is a vital experimental model to find future biomedical applications. Marco Milán goes on to say, “this finding could provide clues about how to repress the cell proliferation signals in cancer”.

The context is relevant
Furthermore, the research has elucidated the relationship between Notch and Wnt/Wingless in the control of proliferation and the development of the fly wing. In fact, Notch has a repressor function, that is to say, when it is activated the cell division machinery is arrested. Only when Wnt/Wingless starts to work is Notch silenced, thereby triggering the cascade of genes that allow proliferation. “Notch works in this context as a tumor suppressor”, explains Milán, “while Wnt/Wingless acts as an oncogen, that is, by canceling the action of Notch it allows the cell division machinery to operate”. But the fundamental point for the researchers is that Notch and Wnt/Wingless can interchange their roles depending on the context in which they are operating because the true executors of the action are the genes that these proteins regulate, in this case dMyc and bantam.

Researchers ask how, for example, in function of the tissue that is affected, Notch can serve as a “tumor suppressor” or as an oncogene. The conclusions drawn from this study, point to effectors being regulated by this pathway. “We have highlighted the importance of the context in which these signaling pathways work and that knowledge about the underlying regulatory elements is crucial to understand how a certain function is performed”, explains Herranz.

According to Milán, diseases like cancer cannot be understood without taking into account how the distinct elements are integrated: that is to say, crosstalk between neighboring cells, effector genes and cell cycle machinery. “Now we must look for similarities in vertebrates and humans to see whether these elements work in the same way in diseases”, concludes.

Sonia Armengou | alfa
Further information:
http://www.irbbarcelona.org

Further reports about: Milán Notch Wnt/Wingless effector machinery proliferation

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Matchmaking with consequences
17.10.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Taking screening methods to the next level
17.10.2017 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

Im Focus: New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions

It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...

Im Focus: Small collisions make big impact on Mercury's thin atmosphere

Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers.

Recent modeling along with previously published results from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft -- short for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Taking screening methods to the next level

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

‘Find the Lady’ in the quantum world

17.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>