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 Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

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

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Control of molecular motion by metal-plated 3-D printed plastic pieces

27.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Move over, Superman! NIST method sees through concrete to detect early-stage corrosion

27.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>