Genetically controllable self-destruction of cells or apoptosis (originating from the Greek “apoptosis” - defoliation) – is one of important processes in animate nature. Surprising transformations of embryos as they grow, development and disappearance of organs and tissues – all these are apoptosis’ work. It can protect from disease or cancer or it can mutilate and kill, for example, in case of infarct or autoimmune diseases when a lot of cells perish at once.
Biochemists from the Scientific Research Institute of Physicochemical Biology (Lomonosov Moscow State University) jointly with their British colleagues have discovered that apoptosis in one cell entails the death of neighboring cells as if they came to an agreement. The researchers have assumed that the signal for mass suicide of cells is sent by hydrogen peroxide, which is formed in mitochondria of apoptosis cells, gets into the environment, easily penetrates via membranes inside healthy cells, and healthy cells in response to the invasion also start their dissociation. This is the way young frog’s tail “dissolves”.
To investigate the mechanism of this phenomenon, the researchers observed the process by the example of the cancer cells culture (uterus carcinoma) growing in Petri dishes in a thin layer. The researchers processed individual cells and groups of cells by a hormone - tumor necrosis factor. Further developments were observed by the researchers via a microscope and camera-recorded.
Sergey Komarov | alfa
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