Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New understanding of cell movement may yield ways to brake cancer’s spread

01.08.2005


From birth until death, our cells migrate: nerve cells make their vital connections, embryonic cells move to the proper places to form organs, immune cells zero in to destroy pathogenic organisms, and cancer cells metastasize, spreading deadly disease through the body. Scientists studying these migrations didn’t know how cells determined where to go. Until now.



A Burnham Institute study has identified a fragment of a protein that senses chemicals that induce a cell to move into the right direction. Guided by this fragment, the molecular machinery needed for cell movement begins accumulating at the leading edge, or front of a cell in response to a variety of chemical messengers, and begins the directed process of migration. The study, led by associate professor and Burnham Cancer Center Acting Director Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D., appears in the August issue of Nature Cell Biology.

The finding is the first to determine the molecule responsible for internally choreographing directed cell migration. The experiments were conducted in several widely used laboratory models, but the molecule exists in nearly all animals, from roundworms to mammals, and likely has a conserved function throughout species. Knowing exactly what triggers cellular migration can help develop treatments that halt cancer metastasis and immune disorders like arthritis and asthma.


"Previous studies by us and others have identified how a migrating cell ’gets its wheels’ and, mechanistically, is able to move. In this study, we have now determined how these wheels become pointed in the right direction", said Vuori. "We now know this is done using a protein that holds true in most cellular systems. Seeing how this process directs cells can help us better address a host of diseases that result from too little or too much cell movement, or from cells moving in the wrong direction and to the wrong place."

Dr. Vuori and her team found a molecule called DOCK180, a key signaling protein that binds to PIP3. PIP3 is a lipid that accumulates on the leading edge of a cell about to move, usually in response to a number of outside cellular attractants like chemokines, growth factors and other molecules. Meanwhile at the hind end of the cell, enzymes degrade the PIP3 lipid, creating a gradient from one end of the cell to the other.

It is this PIP3 lipid gradient that sets the cell into motion toward the right direction. The PIP3-binding portion of DOCK180 senses the gradient, and DOCK180 starts accumulating at the leading edge of the cell. Along with it, DOCK180 brings a host of additional molecules to the leading edge, triggering a series of internal events that begin moving the cell forward. "We see a protrusion form first, in which the cell changes shape and extends towards the direction it is about to go, followed by movement of the rest of the cell," Vuori said.

Now, the researchers are looking at developing a three-dimensional picture of PIP3 -binding domain’s molecular structure. "We are currently planning these structure studies with our collaborators here at the Burnham," Vuori said. "If we know its molecular structure, we hope to be able to make small chemicals that inhibit inappropriate cell migration, including the types seen in metastatic cancer cells."

Nancy Beddingfield | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.burnham.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Joining forces for immune research
13.08.2018 | Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft

nachricht The “TRiC” to folding actin
10.08.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

Im Focus: A molecular switch may serve as new target point for cancer and diabetes therapies

If certain signaling cascades are misregulated, diseases like cancer, obesity and diabetes may occur. A mechanism recently discovered by scientists at the Leibniz- Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP) in Berlin and at the University of Geneva has a crucial influence on such signaling cascades and may be an important key for the future development of therapies against these diseases. The results of the study have just been published in the prestigious scientific journal 'Molecular Cell'.

Cell growth and cell differentiation as well as the release and efficacy of hormones such as insulin depend on the presence of lipids. Lipids are small...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NRL's sun imaging telescopes fly on NASA Parker Solar Probe

13.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

UT-ORNL team makes first particle accelerator beam measurement in six dimensions

13.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

ASU astrophysicist helps discover that ultrahot planets have starlike atmospheres

13.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>