Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Energy management in cells may hold key to cancer defense

19.08.2005


In an ongoing effort to fight disease by manipulating energy regulation of cells, a collaborative study led by Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) has demonstrated that cells lacking a tumor-suppressing kinase called LKB1 can still maintain healthy energy levels when they become stressed. This energy regulation is essential for keeping cells from dying off too quickly. The study’s results could signal new advances for combating cancerous tumor growth, but also type 2 diabetes and obesity.



The study, published in the August 12 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), was headed by Dr. Lee Witters, Eugene W. Leonard 1921 Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at DMS and of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth College, who has researched kinases for over 25 years. Kinases encompass a large family of enzyme proteins that play key roles in the workings of most animal cells. He has focused much of his research on the AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) which responsible for managing energy within cellular pathways.

"A cell’s energy level is critical to its survival," explains Witters, who likens a low-energy cell to a car with no gas in its tank. "In a previous study, we found that the cellular "gas gauge," AMPK, can turn around and alter any deficits in the cell if it is turned on by the kinase LKB1. In this JBC study, we wanted to see if AMPK could also be turned on by something besides LKB1."


"We decided to work with cervical and lung cancer cells because LKB1 is absent from the cellular pathway," said Rebecca Hurley, lead author of the study and a graduate student in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program at Dartmouth. Working closely with scientists at St. Vincent’s Institute in Australia and Duke University, the DMS team concluded that two kinases in these cancer cells, CaMKKá and CaMKKâ, are able to regulate AMPK independent of LBK1.

"With the addition of these two kinases, we think we have all nearly the players responsible for energy regulation within the cell, which should offer new opportunities in cancer treatment," said Hurley. "If we can stifle a cancer cell’s ability to adapt to an energy deficit, it might lose its growth advantage." "You need to know how all these proteins interact before you can make truly significant advances," echoes Witters "It’s like poker; not only do you need to know what each card signifies individually, but you must have an understanding of how they play off each other in order to win."

In addition to cancer-fighting potential of AMPK regulation, the enzyme also responds to changes in insulin or glucose and mediates impaired energy metabolism, a hallmark of type 2 diabetes. "This indicates that AMPK is a very tempting target for the treatment of some forms of diabetes and even obesity," said Witters.

As Witters’ laboratory continues to zero in on the central role of kinases in the treatment of disease, he acknowledges that this research is becoming more complex and multiple approaches are needed to find solutions. Witters believes that significant breakthroughs in science can only be achieved through open collaboration, citing partnerships between faculty and students, and between other institutes outside the Dartmouth community.

Often referring to his laboratory as a classroom, Witters pointed out the integral roles played by Hurley and Dartmouth College undergraduate student Jeanne Franzone ’05, a co-author of the study. "Students are the grand integrators of collaboration," he said, noting that Hurley traveled to other labs in the US to complete this study. Other co-authors of the study are Kristin Anderson and Anthony Means from Duke University and Bruce Kemp from The St. Vincent’s Institute and CSIRO Health Sciences and Nutrition in Australia.

Andy Nordhoff | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.dartmouth.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New technology offers fast peptide synthesis
28.02.2017 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

nachricht Biofuel produced by microalgae
28.02.2017 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technology offers fast peptide synthesis

28.02.2017 | Life Sciences

WSU research advances energy savings for oil, gas industries

28.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Who can find the fish that makes the best sound?

28.02.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>