Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cancer researchers found a new mechanism potentially explaining evolution of signalling pathways

08.02.2006


Cancer researchers at the University of Helsinki, in trying to find a novel tumor suppressor gene, instead found an important evolutionary change that occurred in a key developmental signalling pathway. The finding suggests a potential mechanism for evolution of complex intercellular signalling pathways.



A relatively small number of evolutionary conserved genes are responsible for controlling the development of the diverse range of animal species. Most of these genes have been originally identified in fruit fly, based on the analysis of mutations that alter the body pattern of a developing embryo.

During embryonic development, cells regulate the growth and differentiation of each other by secreting extracellular signalling molecules (growth factors or morphogens), which bind to receptors present on the surface of other cells. The receptors in turn activate intracellular signalling pathway composed of proteins that relay the signal to the nucleus, activating specialized proteins called transcription factors. The transcription factors then affect expression of genes that induce cell growth and differentiation.


The signal transduction molecules and mechanisms of major developmental signalling pathways are thought to be evolutionary conserved between invertebrates and vertebrates in such a way that if a signalling pathway is present in a given organism, it includes all the major classes of components found in humans. Because of the lack of intermediate forms, the evolution of these complex signalling pathways is not understood in detail, and the emergence of signalling pathways with multiple specific and essential components has even been used as an argument against evolution.

Because multiple components of the Hedgehog (Hh) signalling pathway are defective in human cancers, Markku Varjosalo in Professor Jussi Taipale’s laboratory (the University of Helsinki and National Public Health Institute of Finland) cloned the gene for mammalian homolog of a key regulator of fruit fly Hh signalling pathway, Costal-2. However, further analysis of the function of the mammalian gene revealed that it did not function as a Hh pathway regulator, let alone as the tumor suppressor gene the researchers had hoped for. Instead, together with a group led by Prof. Rune Toftgård and Dr. Stephan Teglund from Karolinska Institutet, the researchers found that another gene (Suppressor of Fused), which has a minor role in Hh signalling in fruit fly is critical for Hh pathway regulation in mammals.

The finding is the first clear demonstration of a major difference in the function of conserved signalling pathways between species. The results also show that multi-component pathways evolve, in part, by the insertion of novel proteins between existing pathway components. This insertion mechanism can potentially explain a challenging aspect of evolutionary biology regarding the emergence of signalling pathways with multiple specific components.

Jussi Taipale | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.helsinki.fi

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | 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: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>