Cell glue gives insights into cancer

July 17, 2012, University of Queensland

(Medical Xpress) -- University of Queensland researchers have discovered an important step in how proteins glue cells together to form healthy tissues, a process that is often disturbed in diseases such as cancer and inflammation.

Professor Alpha Yap, Dr Aparna Ratheesh and Dr Guillermo Gomez from UQ's Institute for (IMB) led a team that discovered the signals that prompt proteins to build the "" that binds cells into tissues.

“Cells are the basic building blocks of our body,” Professor Yap said.

“Healthy tissues require their component cells to recognise and adhere to one another.

“This adhesion is achieved through specialised bundles of proteins whose formation is promoted by a signalling called Rho.

"You can think of this signal like the conductor of an orchestra, making sure that all the players work together.”

Professor Yap and his team studied Rho and discovered a network of proteins that ensure Rho is activated at the correct time.

“Many of the proteins in this network have been implicated in cancer, meaning this discovery will provide valuable insights into how healthy tissues are disturbed in disease,” Professor Yap said.

It follows the Yap laboratory's 2010 and 2011 discoveries of how adhesion proteins come unstuck inappropriately.

The study is published in the current edition of the international scientific journal Nature Cell Biology. Subscribers can access the paper at this address: bit.ly/L2JWDD

This work was financially supported by the Human Frontiers Science Program, the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, the Australian Research Council, and the Oncology Children's Foundation.

Explore further: Scientists discover that squeezed cells pop out of overcrowded tissues

Related Stories

Scientists discover that squeezed cells pop out of overcrowded tissues

April 16, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Cancer Research UK scientists have shown that increasing pressure ejects surplus healthy cells from overcrowded tissues, revealing a possible link between this process  and the spread of cancer, according ...

Tracking proteins behaving badly provides insights for treatments of brain diseases

March 19, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- A research team led by the University of Melbourne has developed a novel technique that tracks diseased proteins behaving badly by forming clusters in brain diseases such as Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s.

Recommended for you

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

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.