Allows cancer cells to divide even when oxygen-starved
Most cells do not divide unless there is enough oxygen present to support their offspring, but certain cancer cells and other cell types circumvent this rule.
Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University have now identified a mechanism that overrides the cells’ warning signals, enabling cancers to continue to divide even without a robust blood supply.
In the process, the researchers found that lysosomes — the cell’s protein “recycling centers” — help govern cell division decisions. They also uncovered new evidence that certain drugs can halt the growth of tumors that have high levels of the protein HIF-1alpha.
A summary of their findings will be published the week of July 28 in the journal PNAS.
Low levels of oxygen stimulate the production and activation of HIF-1alpha, which protects cells in two ways. Primarily, it turns on several genes for proteins that help the cells adapt to the lack of oxygen. It can also stop the duplication of DNA, which prevents cells from dividing and adding more oxygen-using cells to an already harsh environment.
Knowing that some cells ignore the warnings of HIF-1alpha and divide anyway, Gregg Semenza, M.D., Ph.D., and his team looked for interactions between HIF-1alpha and Cdk1 and Cdk2, proteins known to regulate cell division decisions. They found that HIF-1alpha interacts with both of them, but that Cdk1 increases HIF-1alpha levels, while Cdk2 lowers them.
Semenza’s team suspected that Cdk1 and Cdk2 were acting on HIF-1alpha by marking or not marking it for destruction by the cell’s miniature “garbage disposals,” called proteasomes. But when the researchers blocked proteasome function, they found no changes in HIF-1alpha levels.
Instead, Cdk1 and Cdk2 turned out to alter HIF-1alpha levels by marking or not marking it for destruction by the cell’s lysosomes. To their knowledge, this is the first time lysosomes have been implicated in a cell’s division decisions.
Remarkably, in certain cancer cells, Cdk2 was able to decrease levels of HIF-1alpha while also stimulating its gene activation activity. The net effect was that cells continued dividing while coping with low oxygen levels. In cultured cells, drugs that inhibit Cdk1 prevented HIF-1alpha levels from falling and restored its ability to halt cell division, suggesting they may be effective treatments for certain cancers.
Gregg Semenza is the C. Michael Armstrong Professor of Medicine and a professor of pediatrics, oncology, radiation oncology and biological chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Other authors of the report include Maimon Hubbi, Daniele Gilkes, Hongxia Hu and Ishrat Ahmed of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and Kshitiz of Yale University.
This work was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute (K99CA181352) and the American Cancer Society.
Catherine Kolf | newswise
Why developing nerve cells can take a wrong turn
04.06.2020 | Universität zu Köln
Innocent and highly oxidizing
04.06.2020 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
In meningococci, the RNA-binding protein ProQ plays a major role. Together with RNA molecules, it regulates processes that are important for pathogenic properties of the bacteria.
Meningococci are bacteria that can cause life-threatening meningitis and sepsis. These pathogens use a small protein with a large impact: The RNA-binding...
An analysis of more than 200,000 spiral galaxies has revealed unexpected links between spin directions of galaxies, and the structure formed by these links...
Two prominent X-ray emission lines of highly charged iron have puzzled astrophysicists for decades: their measured and calculated brightness ratios always disagree. This hinders good determinations of plasma temperatures and densities. New, careful high-precision measurements, together with top-level calculations now exclude all hitherto proposed explanations for this discrepancy, and thus deepen the problem.
Hot astrophysical plasmas fill the intergalactic space, and brightly shine in stellar coronae, active galactic nuclei, and supernova remnants. They contain...
In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".
Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...
Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...
19.05.2020 | Event News
07.04.2020 | Event News
06.04.2020 | Event News
04.06.2020 | Life Sciences
04.06.2020 | Physics and Astronomy
04.06.2020 | Life Sciences