Their study is published in the January 15 issue of Science.
Xiaoping Du, UIC professor of pharmacology, and his colleagues were trying to better understand how platelets in the blood form clots. Clots that form in blood vessels can lead to heart attack and stroke.
To form clots, platelets flatten out to seal the wound and to bind to each other, a process called "spreading." Spreading is the first step in a number of cell processes, Du says.
In order for cells to move, they must adhere and spread onto the extracellular matrix, a scaffolding of fibers that supports cells. Only then is the cell able to crawl along -- whether it be an immune cell moving toward a wound, or a cancer cell invading neighboring tissue.
Adhesion to the extracellular matrix is mediated by cell receptors called integrins. Du's team "found the mechanism for the transmission of the signal to spread" by the integrins, he said.
The integrin molecule spans the cell membrane, with a portion of the integrin inside the cell and another part outside.
When the outside part of the integrin molecule binds to the matrix, a signal is sent inside the cell via a G protein, a type of protein involved in cell signaling but that was not previously known to interact with integrins.
Du and his colleagues found that the G protein G-alpha-13 binds to the inner side of the integrin molecule when the outside portion binds to the matrix. G-alpha-13 then inhibits a molecule called RhoA, which normally allows the cell to maintain a spherical shape. When RhoA is inhibited by G-alpha-13, the cell is able to flatten out and spread onto the matrix.
Because the factors involved in this first step in spreading are common to virtually all cells, Du believes that the mechanism is likely universal.
"Understanding these fundamental processes has the potential to allow us to develop drugs to treat thrombosis, stroke and heart attack," he said, and may lead to drugs that could stop cancer cells from migrating.
The study was supported by grants from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, one of the National Institutes of Health. Haixia Gong, Bo Shen, Panagiotis Flevaris, Christina Chow, Stephen Lam, Tatyana Voyno-Yasenetskaya, and Tohru Kozasa, all of the department of pharmacology in the UIC College of Medicine, contributed to the study.
Jeanne Galatzer-Levy | EurekAlert!
First SARS-CoV-2 genomes in Austria openly available
03.04.2020 | CeMM Forschungszentrum für Molekulare Medizin der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
Do urban fish exhibit impaired sleep? Light pollution suppresses melatonin production in European perch
03.04.2020 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
Drops of water falling on or sliding over surfaces may leave behind traces of electrical charge, causing the drops to charge themselves. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz have now begun a detailed investigation into this phenomenon that accompanies us in every-day life. They developed a method to quantify the charge generation and additionally created a theoretical model to aid understanding. According to the scientists, the observed effect could be a source of generated power and an important building block for understanding frictional electricity.
Water drops sliding over non-conducting surfaces can be found everywhere in our lives: From the dripping of a coffee machine, to a rinse in the shower, to an...
90 million-year-old forest soil provides unexpected evidence for exceptionally warm climate near the South Pole in the Cretaceous
An international team of researchers led by geoscientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have now...
The bacteria that cause tuberculosis need iron to survive. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now solved the first detailed structure of the transport protein responsible for the iron supply. When the iron transport into the bacteria is inhibited, the pathogen can no longer grow. This opens novel ways to develop targeted tuberculosis drugs.
One of the most devastating pathogens that lives inside human cells is Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis. According to the...
An international team with the participation of Prof. Dr. Michael Kues from the Cluster of Excellence PhoenixD at Leibniz University Hannover has developed a new method for generating quantum-entangled photons in a spectral range of light that was previously inaccessible. The discovery can make the encryption of satellite-based communications much more secure in the future.
A 15-member research team from the UK, Germany and Japan has developed a new method for generating and detecting quantum-entangled photons at a wavelength of...
Together with their colleagues from the University of Würzburg, physicists from the group of Professor Alexander Szameit at the University of Rostock have devised a “funnel” for photons. Their discovery was recently published in the renowned journal Science and holds great promise for novel ultra-sensitive detectors as well as innovative applications in telecommunications and information processing.
The quantum-optical properties of light and its interaction with matter has fascinated the Rostock professor Alexander Szameit since College.
02.04.2020 | Event News
26.03.2020 | Event News
23.03.2020 | Event News
03.04.2020 | Materials Sciences
03.04.2020 | Life Sciences
03.04.2020 | Life Sciences