Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Developmental biology : Integrin, the protein which gives cells a licence to roam

12.05.2006
CNRS researchers at the Institut Curie have shown in embryos that a cell-surface protein called ß1 integrin is essential for the formation of the enteric nervous system, which controls the passage of food through the gut.

If the cells destined to form the future enteric nervous system lack ß1 integrin, their capacity to migrate is impaired and they fail to colonize the whole intestine. This anomaly resembles Hirschsprung’s disease, a rare human congenital malformation. These findings also shed new light on how cancer becomes invasive when tumor cells acquire the ability to move around the body, giving rise to metastases. This discovery, which is reported in the May 2006 edition of Development, should enhance understanding of the development of Hirschsprung’s disease and tissue invasion in cancer.

Life’s great adventure starts when an ovum fuses with a spermatozoa to form an egg, which divides into two cells, then four, eight, and so forth, before the embryo attaches to the womb lining and develops. The embryo’s cells don’t just divide, they also specialize: some become nerve cells, others muscle or blood cells. They move around and join forces to form organs within the embryo, which progressively becomes a fetus. A “neural” tube subsequently forms throughout the length of the embryo and supplies all the cells needed to make the central nervous system, that is the brain and spinal cord, as well as the peripheral nervous system, the body’s other nerve cells.

The peripheral nervous system arises from a particular population of cells in the dorsal region of the neural tube. These so-called neural crest cells migrate through the embryo and invade the different tissues. For example, the cells that give rise to the enteric nervous system migrate towards the intestine that is being formed and colonize it by advancing to its distal end, the future rectum. It is only after they have invaded the whole intestine that the cells acquire all the special features of the enteric nervous system. In newborn babies and adults alike, these cells control the passage of food through the gut and its absorption during digestion.

Cell migration in formation of the enteric nervous system

Marie Breau in Sylvie Dufour’s group(1) is studying the formation of the enteric nervous system in mouse embryos, and particularly the role of integrins(2), the cell-surface proteins that anchor cells to their environment. Mice that do not express the gene of ß1 integrin cannot survive, so Marie Breau studied the consequences of “switching off” this gene in the neural crest cells of mouse embryos. Without ß1 integrin on their surface, the precursor cells of the future enteric nervous system fail to fully colonize the intestine and stop halfway down the colon because their ability to migrate is greatly impaired. The resulting “mutant” mice therefore lack a nervous system in the descending colon. This anomaly resembles Hirschsprung’s disease in humans, a rare congenital disorder which affects one in 5000 newborns (see Further information).

When tumor cells escape…

Colonization of the embryonic gut by cells from the neural crest has a number of points in common with the development of metastases in cancer patients. Certain cancer cells do not stop their progression after invasion of the original tissue but instead spread throughout the body. As long as the cancer cells remain where they are the tumor is localized and can be controlled by local treatment (surgery, radiotherapy), thereby curing the patient. However, if the cancer cells acquire the capacity to disseminate through the body, the tumor is considered to be metastatic and is more difficult to eradicate. The mouse model developed by the Institut Curie researchers should help us understand how metastases form, information essential to the improvement of cancer management.

Integrins, which are already known to be involved in the transformation of local tumors into invasive ones, appear to be possible targets for cancer treatments. It therefore seems doubly important to decode the mechanisms linking integrins to the process of tissue invasion.

(1) Cellular morphogenesis and tumor progression” group headed by Jean Paul Thiery – UMR 144 CNRS/Institut Curie “Subcellular structure and cellular dynamics”

(2) Integrins, which constitute a large family of proteins involved in signal transmission, control the proliferation, survival, migration and differentiation of cells.

Catherine Goupillon | alfa
Further information:
http://dev.biologists.org/
http://www.curie.fr

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 >>>