Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Identify Mechanism That Maintains Stem-Cell Readiness, Helps Leukemia Cells Growth

04.06.2012
An immune-system receptor plays an unexpected but crucially important role in keeping stem cells from differentiating and in helping blood cancer cells grow, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center report today in the journal Nature.

“Cancer cells grow rapidly in part because they fail to differentiate into mature cells. Drugs that induce differentiation can be used to treat cancers,” said Dr. Chengcheng “Alec” Zhang, assistant professor in UT Southwestern’s departments of physiology and developmental biology. “Our research identified a protein receptor on cancer cells that inhibits differentiation, and knowing the identity of this protein should facilitate the development of new drugs to treat cancers.”

The family of proteins investigated in the study could help open a new field of biology integrating immunology with stem cell and cancer research, he added.

“The receptor we identified turned out to be a protein called a classical immune inhibitory receptor, which is known to maintain stemness of normal adult stem cells and to be important in the development of leukemia,” he said.

Stemness refers to the blood stem cells’ potential to develop into a range of different kinds of cells as needed, for instance to replenish red blood cells lost to bleeding or to produce more white blood cells to fight off infection. Once stem cells differentiate into adult cells, they cannot go back to being stem cells. Current thinking is that the body has a finite number of stem cells and it is best to avoid depleting them, Dr. Zhang explained.

Prior to this study, no high-affinity receptors had been identified for the family of seven proteins called the human angiopoetic-like proteins. These seven proteins are known to be involved in inflammation, supporting the activity of stem cells, breaking down fats in the blood, and growing new blood vessels to nourish tumors. Because the receptor to which these proteins bind had not been identified, the angiopoetic-like proteins were referred to as “orphans,” he said.

The researchers found that the human immune-inhibitory receptor LILRB2 and a corresponding receptor on the surface of mouse cells bind to several of the angiopoetic-like proteins. Further studies, Dr. Zhang said, showed that two of the seven family members bind particularly well to the LILRB2 receptor and that binding exerts an inhibitory effect on the cell, similar to a car’s brakes.

In the case of stem cells, inhibition keeps them in their stem state. They retain their potential to mature into all kinds of blood cells as needed but they don’t use up their energy differentiating into mature cells. That inhibition helps stem cells maintain their potential to create new stem cells because in addition to differentiation, self-renewal is the cells’ other major activity, Dr. Zhang said. He stressed that the inhibition doesn’t cause them to create new stem cells but does preserve their potential to do so.

In future research, the scientists hope to find subtle differences between stem cells and leukemia cells that will identify treatments to block the receptors’ action only in leukemia.

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study from the departments of physiology and developmental biology include postdoctoral researchers Dr. ChangHao Cui, Dr. Xiaoli Chen, Dr. Chaozheng Zhang, Dr. HoangDinh Huynh, and Dr. Xunlei Kang; senior research associates Robert Silvany and Jiyuan Li; and graduate student Xuan Wan. Researchers from the department of immunology include former technician Alberto Puig Cantó and Dr. E. Sally Ward, professor of immunology.

Former UT Southwestern researchers include lead author and former instructor of physiology Dr. Junke Zheng, now at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine in Shanghai, China; Dr. Masato Umikawa, now at the University of Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan; Dr. Huan-You Wang, now at the University of California, San Diego; and Dr. Jingxiao Ye, now at UT Dallas. Dr. Shu-Hsia Chen, from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, also collaborated in the study.

The study received funding from the National Institutes of Health; the American Society of Hematology Junior Faculty Award; March of Dimes Basil O’Connor Scholar Award; the Department of Defense; the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas; and the Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation.

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/cancer to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in cancer.

Deborah Wormser | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | 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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>