Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Can plant research lead to new insights in cancer research?

11.01.2005


Ghent - The development of cancer is a complex process with a number of different causes. The root problem is loss of control in the cell division process. A fundamental biological process, cell division can be studied in many organisms. Researchers from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) connected with Ghent University are studying cell division in plants and thereby uncovering general principles. They are now revealing the importance of the DEL1 protein in the control of cell division in the Arabidopsis plant. The scientists suspect that the human variant of this protein, E2F7, performs the same essential function in human cells. Their research is bringing to light a potentially new class of genes that can suppress the growth of tumors.



Loss of control...

Our body is constructed of cells that contain the hereditary material (DNA) distributed among chromosomes - 46 in human cells. Under normal circumstances, our body’s cells divide continuously in a very controlled manner: every cell division is preceded by a doubling of the DNA, so that, after division, two cells are formed, each containing 46 chromosomes. But sometimes this process goes wrong, giving rise to cells with an incorrect number of chromosomes. Such an occurrence can undermine the precise control system governing cell division, so that the cell begins to divide without restraint, turning into a cancer cell.


New insights from an unexpected quarter

In a small plant like Arabidopsis (or the mouse ear cress), processes such as DNA doubling and cell division are also subject to a complex control system. The VIB research group, under the direction of Lieven De Veylder and Dirk Inzé, is studying cell division in Arabidopsis during the plant’s development and, in particular, the function of the DEL1 protein in the cell division process. For this study, they modified plants genetically so that they no longer produced DEL1. The researchers saw that the cells of these modified plants contained noticeably more DNA than the cells of normal Arabidopsis plants. By shutting down DEL1, a doubling of the cell’s DNA is no longer automatically followed by cell division. Their research demonstrates the importance of DEL1 in the control mechanism of DNA doubling and cell division.

From plants to people?

De Veylder and Inzé suspect that the E2F7 protein - the human counterpart to DEL1 - performs a function in human cells analogous to that of DEL1 in Arabidopsis. According to these scientists, an error in E2F7 could lead to cells containing too many chromosomes, and thus to cancer cells. They want to develop this line of reasoning further with a partner in cancer research in order to better understand the factors that underlie cancer.

Sooike Stoops | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vib.be

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

nachricht Pollen taxi for bacteria
18.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>