Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tumor metastasis with a twist

15.03.2011
Protein is key to early embryonic development, but later promotes spread of cancer

In the early stages of human embryogenesis, a transcription factor called Twist1 plays a key regulatory role in how the embryo assumes form and function. Much later in life, however, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, say Twist1 can re-emerge, taking a darker and more deadly turn.

In a paper published in the March 15, 2011 issue of Cancer Cell, UCSD scientists led by Jing Yang, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and pediatrics, identify a unique function of Twist1 in later life: it promotes the formation of invadopodia in tumor cells, a vital step in the spread of such cells (metastasis) to surrounding tissues and other parts of the body.

Invadopodia (meaning "invasive feet") are tiny protrusions of tumor cells that extend into the extracellular matrix -- the surrounding connective tissue and fibers that provide support. Invadopodia concentrate enzymes that degrade the matrix so that tumor cells can break away and metastasize.

Previous studies have linked the expression of Twist1 to many aggressive, solid-tumor cancers, including melanomas, neuroblastomas, as well as breast and prostate cancer. The new research by Yang and colleagues describes in detail how Twist1 initiates the multi-step pathway resulting in invadopodia formation and matrix degradation. The research also reveals places in the process that may present potential targets for future anti-metastasis therapies.

After embryogenesis, Twist1 is normally suppressed. Cancer cells, however, reactivate the transcription factor, enabling Twist1 to initiate its complex pathway leading to metastasis. Drug designers, however, have yet to successfully devise a way to directly inhibit transcription factors like Twist1. The UCSD study points to other possibilities.

"We hope to inhibit downstream targets of Twist1 (such as platelet-derived growth factor receptors) to inhibit invadopodia formation and function," Yang said. "Our study suggests that inhibition of invadopodia-mediated matrix degradation could be an effective way to suppress metastasis."

If that happens, a cancer tumor becomes a stable, unmoving and easier target for other types of therapeutic treatments.

Co-authors of the paper include Mark A. Eckert and Andrew T. Chang, UCSD Molecular Pathology Graduate Program and Biomedical Science Graduate Program; Thinzar M. Lwin and Etienne Danis, UCSD Department of Pharmacology; and Jihoon Kim and Lucila Ohno-Machado, UCSD Division of Biomedical Informatics.

Research funding came, in part, from the National Institutes of Health, the Sydney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research, the California Breast Cancer Research Program and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Scott LaFee | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nerves control the body’s bacterial community
26.09.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Ageless ears? Elderly barn owls do not become hard of hearing
26.09.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The fastest light-driven current source

Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.

Graphene is up to the job

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nerves control the body’s bacterial community

26.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Four elements make 2-D optical platform

26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Goodbye, login. Hello, heart scan

26.09.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>