Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Can plant research lead to new insights in cancer research?

11.01.2005


Ghent - The development of cancer is a complex process with a number of different causes. The root problem is loss of control in the cell division process. A fundamental biological process, cell division can be studied in many organisms. Researchers from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) connected with Ghent University are studying cell division in plants and thereby uncovering general principles. They are now revealing the importance of the DEL1 protein in the control of cell division in the Arabidopsis plant. The scientists suspect that the human variant of this protein, E2F7, performs the same essential function in human cells. Their research is bringing to light a potentially new class of genes that can suppress the growth of tumors.



Loss of control...

Our body is constructed of cells that contain the hereditary material (DNA) distributed among chromosomes - 46 in human cells. Under normal circumstances, our body’s cells divide continuously in a very controlled manner: every cell division is preceded by a doubling of the DNA, so that, after division, two cells are formed, each containing 46 chromosomes. But sometimes this process goes wrong, giving rise to cells with an incorrect number of chromosomes. Such an occurrence can undermine the precise control system governing cell division, so that the cell begins to divide without restraint, turning into a cancer cell.


New insights from an unexpected quarter

In a small plant like Arabidopsis (or the mouse ear cress), processes such as DNA doubling and cell division are also subject to a complex control system. The VIB research group, under the direction of Lieven De Veylder and Dirk Inzé, is studying cell division in Arabidopsis during the plant’s development and, in particular, the function of the DEL1 protein in the cell division process. For this study, they modified plants genetically so that they no longer produced DEL1. The researchers saw that the cells of these modified plants contained noticeably more DNA than the cells of normal Arabidopsis plants. By shutting down DEL1, a doubling of the cell’s DNA is no longer automatically followed by cell division. Their research demonstrates the importance of DEL1 in the control mechanism of DNA doubling and cell division.

From plants to people?

De Veylder and Inzé suspect that the E2F7 protein - the human counterpart to DEL1 - performs a function in human cells analogous to that of DEL1 in Arabidopsis. According to these scientists, an error in E2F7 could lead to cells containing too many chromosomes, and thus to cancer cells. They want to develop this line of reasoning further with a partner in cancer research in order to better understand the factors that underlie cancer.

Sooike Stoops | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vib.be

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>