Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New cell imaging method identifies aggressive cancer cells early

08.03.2006


Fluorescence that illuminates a specific protein within a cell’s nucleus may be a key to identifying cancer virulence and to developing individualized treatment, according to researchers at Purdue University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


Learning about the changes in location of proteins within cell nuclei may help researchers determine the types and virulence of cancer cells and find new treatments. Purdue researcher Sophie Lelièvre and her colleagues at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory studied the protein NuMA in breast tissue to develop an automated technique to track, map and analyze the protein’s redistribution in different cell types. The illustration compares NuMA (in red) in the nucleus of a normal breast tissue cell (top left) to the nucleus of a cell belonging to an invasive breast tumor (top right). The drawings in black show nuclei within the organization of non-malignant and malignant cells of a normal glandular breast tissue (bottom left) and of a tumor nodule (bottom right), respectively. (Illustration by Sophie Lelièvre)



The scientists created a technique that automatically locates and maps proteins involved in regulating cell behavior, said Sophie Lelièvre, Purdue assistant professor of basic medical sciences. The research results have for the first time made it possible to verify the distinction between multiplying cells that are harmless and those that are malignant.

Lelièvre and co-corresponding author on the study, David Knowles of the national lab, used human mammary cells to analyze nuclear protein distribution that shifted depending on whether a cell was malignant, had not yet developed a specific function or was a normally functioning mature mammary cell.


"When you look at cells that don’t yet have a specific function – aren’t differentiated, compared to fully differentiated cells, which are now capable of functioning as breast cells – the organization of proteins in the nucleus varies tremendously," Lelièvre said. "Then looking at how the proteins in malignant cells are distributed, it’s a totally different pattern compared to normal differentiated cells."

The research team’s study on the imaging technique and its use in 3-D mapping and analysis of nuclear protein distribution is published this week online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Ultimately, the scientists want to use the technique to determine not only if a lesion is malignant but also the exact kind of cancer, how likely it is to spread and the most appropriate treatment for a particular patient.

"The major problem exists in the pre-malignant stages of abnormal cells in determining whether cancer will develop, what type and how invasive it will be," Lelièvre said. "The decision then is whether to treat or not to treat and how to proceed in these preliminary stages because only a certain percentage of these patients will ultimately develop cancer.

"We want to use this technique to identify subtypes of cells within lesions that potentially could become more aggressive forms of cancer."

Lelièvre, Knowles and their team used an antibody attached to a fluorescent molecule that targeted and linked with a specific nuclear protein from mammary tissue. When malfunctioning, this protein, named nuclear mitotic apparatus protein (NuMA), has been linked to leukemia and breast cancer.

The imaging technique the researchers developed to identify NuMA location shifts is called an automated local bright feature image analysis. It recorded the average amount of luminescence throughout the nucleus and then located the brightest spots, which were the protein. The system then automatically measured the differences in the protein’s distribution in each cell type and mapped it. This enabled the researchers to verify the changes exhibited by non-differentiated cells that were still multiplying, normal mammary cells and multiplying malignant cells.

The ability to see the protein patterns in the nucleus gives scientists one more tool in advancing the identification of types of cancer and appropriate treatment, Lelièvre said. The imaging tool should work for mapping and analyzing locations of any nuclear protein.

"We have genomics and proteomics that tell us about where genes are, whether they are functioning and interactions of genes with proteins, but no one had focused on the changing distribution of nuclear proteins," she said. "Looking at the location of the proteins is a third part of studying cancer.

"We call it architectural proteomics because the proteins are still there but the location changes."

These protein shifts in the nucleus also may change the protein function, Lelièvre said. The new technique to map protein location will help determine this as well. In the case of malignant cells, it may reveal what signaling process went awry causing abnormal cell growth.

"It’s as if, instead of losing an arm, your arm was placed in another location. It’s abnormal, but you have everything you need – just not in the right place," she said. "It’s what happens in cancer, too; the needed proteins are still there but not in the right place anymore, so their function is altered."

The misplaced proteins in their new locations change how the cell behaves and participate in the promotion of cancer, she said. Being able to measure the protein location shifts to aid in determining their function in cancer cell development will allow scientists to use the proteins as treatment targets.

"With our new system, we now will be able to look at individual cells and nuclei and possibly identify some classes of cells that could be more dangerous than others," Lelièvre said.

The other researchers on the study were Carol Bator-Kelly, Purdue Department of Biological Science, and Damir Sudar and Mina Bissell, at the National Laboratory’s Life Sciences Division Biophysics and Cancer Biology departments.

Lelièvre is also a member of Purdue’s National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center and Purdue’s Oncological Science Center at Discovery Park.

Funding for this research came from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, the Department of Energy Office of Health and Environmental Research, the Walther Cancer Institute, "Friends you Can Count On" and the Purdue University Research Foundation.


Writer: Susan A. Steeves, (765) 496-7481, ssteeves@purdue.edu
Source: Sophie Lelièvre, (765)-496-7793, lelièvre@purdue.edu
Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
Agriculture News Page

Susan A. Steeves | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond
21.11.2017 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht The main switch
21.11.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>