Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Signaling pathway is 'executive software' of airway stem cells

21.06.2011
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found out how mouse basal cells that line airways "decide" to become one of two types of cells that assist in airway-clearing duties. The findings could help provide new therapies for either blocked or thinned airways.

"Our work has identified the Notch signaling pathway as a central regulatory 'switch' that controls the differentiation of airway basal stem cells," said Jason Rock, Ph.D., lead author and postdoctoral researcher in Brigid Hogan's cell biology laboratory. "Studies like ours will enhance efforts to develop effective genetic, cellular, and molecular therapies for airway diseases - a leading cause of death worldwide."

The work was published in Cell Stem Cell on June 3.

Together with the current findings, recent studies suggest that the Notch signaling pathway represents a potential therapeutic target for airway remodeling and lung disease, he said.

"Notch is like an executive software package that helps to maintain the delicate balance of the epithelium, the lining of the airway," said senior author Brigid Hogan, Ph.D., chair of the Duke Department of Cell Biology. "The Notch pathway plays a role in other parts of the body, including neural stem cells, and this is the first time we have seen the results of the Notch pathway in airways. We have also found that the function of Notch signaling is conserved in basal cells from human airways."

Notch signaling dictates whether the daughters of basal stem cells assume one of two different fates, Hogan said. Sustained, high levels of Notch pathway activation result in more secretory cells. These make the needed amount of mucus to move out particles that need to be cleared. Low levels of Notch signal lead to ciliated cells, which act as brushes to move the mucus along toward clearance. Notch, however, isn't required for basal stem cells to proliferate and make additional basal cell daughters.

Airway disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, asthma, acute allergies, and transplant complications, can range from fatal to debilitating, so understanding the secrets of how healthy cells can grow, and in the proper amounts, after injury is important. Fifty-five percent of deaths from lung disease result from changes in the small airways, Hogan said.

The researchers also demonstrated in this work that the smallest airway branches in humans are the same size and are organized like the largest (tracheal) airway tubes in mice.

The next step for the team is to investigate the behavior of the daughters of basal cells to learn what machinery is involved in making them commit to various lineages, and how this system is coordinated to help restore lung function, Hogan said.

Other authors include Xia Gao and Yan Xue of the Duke Department of Cell Biology; Scott Randell of the Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology and CF/Pulmonary Research and Treatment Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and Young-Yun Kong of the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University in Korea.

The work was supported by NIH grants and the authors also acknowledge the Dean of the Duke School of Medicine, Nancy Andrews, for her support of this project.

Mary Jane Gore | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.duke.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution
09.12.2016 | Veterans Affairs Research Communications

nachricht Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>