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

Early hormone therapy may be safe for women's hearts

6 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Healthy women at low risk of cardiovascular disease may be able to take hormone replacement therapy soon after menopause for a short time without harming their hearts, according to a new study.

Low yield for repeat colonoscopy in some patients

7 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Repeat colonoscopies within 10 years are of little benefit to patients who had no polyps found on adequate examination; however, repeat colonoscopies do benefit patients when the baseline examination was compromised, ...

Cell's recycling center implicated in division decisions

9 hours ago

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 ...

User comments