Notch control of cell architecture: Potential implications for future cancer therapy

Notch control of cell architecture
Credit: Thinkstock

Dissecting the mechanisms implicated in cell architecture should provide new insights for understanding development and tissue morphogenesis in general. An European study focused on the role of the Notch signalling pathway in regulating cell architecture.

The Notch pathway is a cell communication pathway conserved throughout the animal kingdom and is implicated in various developmental processes as well as linked to many diseases including cancer. Apart from its role in control, the is believed to regulate the cytoskeleton and . However, the precise mechanism by which Notch exerts its effects on these processes remains elusive.

The 'Understanding Notch function in cell architecture regulation' (NOTCH AND CELL ARCH) proposal therefore aimed to identify and analyse new Notch involved in cell architecture regulation.

By performing a genome-wide analysis of Notch-regulated genes, it was possible to identify genes coding for key proteins involved in cell morphology. These were categorised according to whether they presented changes in expression or they were located in proximity to a genomic region occupied by the transcription factor Su(H) which is known to mediate Notch responses. This led to the identification of 30 potential Notch targets with function related to cell behaviour regulation.

The function of these targets was tested using assays based on and differentiation during oogenesis, myogenesis and formation of the Drosophila wing disc. Using the technology of (RNAi) to knock down gene expression, scientists identified nine genes whose depletion induced phenotypes associated with muscle formation defects, and two others (Moesin and Chickadee) that were required for the proper organisation of the wing disc.

The role of Notch in controlling the expression of cytoskeletal and cell behaviour regulators was also evaluated. Genomic analysis of three (Reck, Rhea/Talin and Trio) for Su(H) and Twist binding positions is expected to provide important information regarding the implication of Notch in their transcription regulation.

Overall, the outcomes of the NOTCH AND CELL ARCH project offered new knowledge on the role of the Notch signalling pathway in cell architecture. Given the importance of Notch signalling and cell organisation integrity in many cancers, these new identified factors might have important implications for future therapy.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Key growth factor identified in T cell leukemia

Aug 01, 2011

Blocking a growth factor receptor cripples cancer growth in a form of T cell leukemia, according to a study published online on August 1 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Recommended for you

US women's awareness of breast density varies

6 hours ago

Disparities in the level of awareness and knowledge of breast density exist among U.S. women, according to the results of a Mayo Clinic study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Study shows why some brain cancers resist treatment

6 hours ago

Scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center may have discovered why some brain cancer patients develop resistance to standard treatments including radiation and the chemotherapy agent temozolomide.

Researchers identify genes responsible for lung tumors

8 hours ago

The lung transcription factor Nkx2-1 is an important gene regulating lung formation and normal respiratory functions after birth. Alterations in the expression of this transcription factor can lead to diseases such as lung ...

Lycopene may ward off kidney cancer in older women

10 hours ago

A higher intake by postmenopausal women of the natural antioxidant lycopene, found in foods like tomatoes, watermelon and papaya, may lower the risk of renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.