Exit discovered in cellular garbage truck: Immersed in the inner workings of a highly selective refuse collection

May 9, 2013, University of Geneva

At the University of Geneva (UNIGE), the team led by Professor Jean Gruenberg has long been interested in the movement of lysosomes, the sub-compartments of cells to where endocytic vesicles deliver their waste content and the molecules destined to be destroyed. Within this context, researcher Christin Bissig, along with her international colleagues, carried out a detailed study of the route taken by Alix which is lodged inside the endosomal membrane. This tailing has highlighted how protein contributes to avoiding cellular digestion, like a door opening into the endosomal transporter garbage bin, bringing about a final waste sorting operation which determines the cell's health. The researchers also showed how vesicular stomatitis makes use of the same route to penetrate the inside of the cell and infect it.

Finally, they identified a lipid, partnered with Alix in this process and present only in the late endosome. This is the first characterisation of the protein- partnership throughout the atom.

Refuse collection and the path of life

and lysosomes are 0.2 to 0.5 cell organelles and are present in all . Their role is to sort molecules and ensure inter-cell digestion and regulation. In all eukaryotes from yeast to human, they carry then transform or destroy proteins, lipids or sugars which the cell feeds on in order to grow and regenerate. In a certain number of diseases or conditions, lysosomes and endosomes are reached and they no longer carry out their transport or degradation work. This is particularly the case with people suffering from lysosomal diseases. The are then clogged with waste. The organism is deregulated, even intoxicated. This path taken by these essential refuse collectors therefore merits greater recognition and documentation.

Lodged inside the endosomes, the Alix protein takes this same route, known as , where molecules and particles travel from the external to the cell's interior. Through this in-depth study biochemists have, without knowing it, opened up fresh applied research perspectives, relating particularly to the worst forms of cholesterol: that which accumulates in lysosomes and endosomes.

Biomedical perspectives

Contributing to the understanding of cholesterol transport - the good, the bad and the most damaging - and mapping out a pathway through which a number of viruses surge; such are the contributions of this fundamental research.

These observations are the focus of a publication in the next edition of online journal Development Cell.

Explore further: Study reveals insight into how key protein protects against viral infections

Related Stories

Study reveals insight into how key protein protects against viral infections

April 2, 2012
Scientists from the University of Utah School of Medicine have discovered that a mouse protein called IFITM3 contributes to the body's defense against some types of viral infections by binding to an enzyme responsible for ...

Study shows how Parkinson's disease protein acts like a virus

April 25, 2013
A protein known to be a key player in the development of Parkinson's disease is able to enter and harm cells in the same way that viruses do, according to a Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine study.

Cholesterol helps regulate key signaling proteins in the cell

December 19, 2012
Cholesterol plays a key role in regulating proteins involved in cell signaling and may be important to many other cell processes, an international team of researchers has found.

Recommended for you

Researchers illustrate how muscle growth inhibitor is activated, could aid in treating ALS

January 19, 2018
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine are part of an international team that has identified how the inactive or latent form of GDF8, a signaling protein also known as myostatin responsible for ...

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

January 18, 2018
T cells play a key role in the body's immune response against pathogens. As a new class of therapeutic approaches, T cells are being harnessed to fight cancer, promising more precise, longer-lasting mitigation than traditional, ...

Weight flux alters molecular profile, study finds

January 17, 2018
The human body undergoes dramatic changes during even short periods of weight gain and loss, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Secrets of longevity protein revealed in new study

January 17, 2018
Named after the Greek goddess who spun the thread of life, Klotho proteins play an important role in the regulation of longevity and metabolism. In a recent Yale-led study, researchers revealed the three-dimensional structure ...

The HLF gene protects blood stem cells by maintaining them in a resting state

January 17, 2018
The HLF gene is necessary for maintaining blood stem cells in a resting state, which is crucial for ensuring normal blood production. This has been shown by a new research study from Lund University in Sweden published in ...

Magnetically applied MicroRNAs could one day help relieve constipation

January 17, 2018
Constipation is an underestimated and debilitating medical issue related to the opioid epidemic. As a growing concern, researchers look to new tools to help patients with this side effect of opioid use and aging.

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.