Kidney disease gene controls cancer highway

May 2, 2014 by Bronwyn Adams
Kidney disease gene controls cancer highway
The University of Queensland's Dr Ben Hogan with the zebrafish that carries the Pkd1 mutation.

University of Queensland researchers have discovered that a gene that causes kidney disease also controls growth of the lymphatic system, a key route through which cancer spreads.

Pkd1 is the most frequently mutated gene in autosomal dominant polycystic , which causes cysts to develop on kidneys and can lead to renal failure.

Researchers, led by Dr Ben Hogan from UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience, (IMB) discovered that Pkd1 also controls lymphatic vessel development.

"Lymphatic vessels are used by tumours as a 'highway' through which they can metastasise, or spread, to other tissues," Dr Hogan said.

"Most cancer deaths occur as a result of metastasis, so it is vital that we gain a better understanding of how grow and develop into a network.

"Pkd1 is a highly studied gene, so its unique role in lymphatic vessel formation is unexpected and gives us a unique entry point to understand how this process is regulated.

"Our hope is that this discovery will lead us to a new series of factors in lymphatic vessel formation that we may be able to exploit in future therapeutic strategies."

Dr Hogan and his collaborators made the discovery after identifying a zebrafish with a mutation in Pkd1 that caused reduced development of lymphatic vessels.

The molecular and cellular regulation of lymphatic vessel development is very similar in zebrafish and mammals, making the tiny, transparent fish ideal candidates for studying how these vessels develop in humans.

"The initial sprouting of these vessels is normal in zebrafish with mutated Pkd1 genes, but ongoing development of the network fails," Dr Hogan said.

Explore further: Outsmarting cancer cells: Scientists learn how they spread

More information: "Pkd1 Regulates Lymphatic Vascular Morphogenesis during Development." Coxam, Baptiste et al.. Cell Reports. In Press Corrected Proof. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2014.03.063

Related Stories

Outsmarting cancer cells: Scientists learn how they spread

April 8, 2011

Saint Louis University researchers have identified a novel mechanism to control the traffic of cells and fluid from tissues to lymphatic vessels. It may be possible to harness this mechanism to fight cancer spread from one ...

Lymphatic vasculature: A cholesterol removal system

March 25, 2013

Reverse cholesterol transport is a process in which accumulated cholesterol is removed from tissues, including the artery wall, and transported back to the liver for excretion. Little is known about how cholesterol is removed ...

Lymphatic fluid takes detour

May 20, 2013

When tumours metastasise, they can block lymphatic vessels, as researchers from ETH Zurich have discovered using a new method. The lymphatic fluid subsequently has to find a new path through the tissue. Such "detours" could ...

Recommended for you

Basic research fuels advanced discovery

August 26, 2016

Clinical trials and translational medicine have certainly given people hope and rapid pathways to cures for some of mankind's most troublesome diseases, but now is not the time to overlook the power of basic research, says ...

New method creates endless supply of kidney precursor cells

August 25, 2016

Salk Institute scientists have discovered the holy grail of endless youthfulness—at least when it comes to one type of human kidney precursor cell. Previous attempts to maintain cultures of the so-called nephron progenitor ...

New avenue for understanding cause of common diseases

August 25, 2016

A ground-breaking Auckland study could lead to discoveries about many common diseases such as diabetes, cancer and dementia. The new finding could also illuminate the broader role of the enigmatic mitochondria in human development.

Strict diet combats rare progeria aging disorders

August 25, 2016

Mice with a severe aging disease live three times longer if they eat thirty percent less. Moreover, they age much healthier than mice that eat as much as they want. These are findings of a joint study being published today ...

0 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.