Cell division and inflammatory disease link revealed

May 17, 2016, University of Manchester

A ground-breaking study by University of Manchester and Liverpool scientists and published in the journal eLife has identified a new link between inflammation and cell division.

Two of the most important processes in the human body, their accurate control is a holy grail for scientists researching the prevention of infection, inflammatory disease and cancer.

Professor Mike White, who led the BBSRC-funded research and investigates how cells adapt to signals in the body, hit upon the discovery using advanced microscopy and mathematical modelling at The University of Manchester's world-leading systems microscopy centre and the University of Liverpool's Centre for Cell Imaging.

"This is an exciting discovery: for the first time we find a link between the system which regulates how cells divide and the basis of some of medicine's most intractable diseases," he said.

Inflammatory signals produced by a wound or during an infection can activate a protein called Nuclear Factor-kappaB (NF-κB), which controls the activity of genes that allow cells to adapt to the situation.

Incorrect control of NF-κB is associated with , such as Crohn's disease, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis; it has also been linked with ageing and some cancers.

A key way in which adapt to signals in their environment is by dividing to produce new cells through a repeating pattern of events, called the cell cycle. A cell first makes copies of its DNA, in a stage known as the DNA synthesis phase, and then divides into two .

The is controlled by a family of proteins called E2 factors, which control the start of the new cell's DNA synthesis phase.

In the eLife study, the team showed that the NF-κB and E2 factors bind to each other in the cell. This controls the level of the NF—κB signal, which is enhanced just before DNA synthesis, but reduced during the DNA synthesis phase.

They also show that signals which activate NF-κB can change the timing of .

The findings suggest that direct interactions between E2 factor proteins and NF-κB enable cells to decide whether to divide and determine how they react in different ways to inflammatory signals.

The work used a set of mathematical equations to make predictions about cell responses, which were then tested by experiments and shown to be correct.

Lead author Dr John Ankers, from the University of Liverpool's Centre for Cell Imaging, said: "This research shows that if we are to understand inflammatory illnesses associated with ageing then we need to understand how normally respond to the constantly changing environment of the body."

Professor White added: "We are particularly proud of our combination of maths and experimentation. This is due to the strong support from BBSRC for the area of systems biology and the work of a dedicated team of scientists from different disciplines."

Explore further: Protein complex linked to cancer growth may also help fight tumors, researchers say

More information: John M Ankers et al. Dynamic NF-κB and E2F interactions control the priority and timing of inflammatory signalling and cell proliferation, eLife (2016). DOI: 10.7554/eLife.10473

Related Stories

Protein complex linked to cancer growth may also help fight tumors, researchers say

July 22, 2013
Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center and Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital in China have discovered a gene expression signature that may lead to new immune therapies for lung cancer patients. They found ...

Fanning the flames of tumor growth: Enzyme responsible for protecting chromosome ends stimulates tumorigenesis

February 27, 2013
Chromosomes are capped by long, repetitive DNA sequences called telomeres. These caps prevent genomic damage by insulating against the steady shortening of DNA ends that naturally accompanies replication. Once mature, cells ...

New point of focus found for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases

October 9, 2012
Scientists affiliated with VIB and UGent have discovered a mechanism used by the protein A20 to combat inflammation. This could be a very important point of focus in the search for a treatment for autoimmune diseases such ...

miR-7 suppresses stomach cancer

August 10, 2015
A study in The Journal of Cell Biology reveals that the microRNA miR-7 suppresses gastric (stomach) cancer by inhibiting a key signaling pathway, and that this protective mechanism is compromised by the cancer-causing bacterium ...

Recommended for you

Targeting sepsis, the leading cause of ICU deaths, with a nanocarrier-delivered microRNA

December 3, 2018
One in three patients who die in the U.S. dies of sepsis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is one of the leading causes of death in intensive care units and, with an estimated price tag of $20 ...

Cells using sugar for metabolic process may fight inflammation

November 27, 2018
New research by a team from the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering has discovered that a type of adult stem cell found in a variety of tissues can be manipulated to enhance tissue regeneration and potentially treat inflammatory ...

To resolve inflammation, location matters

November 19, 2018
Health conditions that involve inflammation run the gamut, from multiple sclerosis and lupus to arthritis, diabetes, and cancer. While inflammation can serve as a normal response to help the body deal with injury or infection, ...

Patchy distribution of joint inflammation resolved

November 16, 2018
Chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and spondylo-arthritis (SpA) are chronic, disabling diseases with a poor outcome for loco-motoric function if left untreated. RA and SpA each affect ...

Discovery suggests new route to fight infection, disease

November 14, 2018
New research reveals how a single protein interferes with the immune system when exposed to the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease, findings that could have broad implications for development of medicines to fight ...

Can't exercise? A hot bath may help improve inflammation, metabolism, study suggests

November 14, 2018
Hot water treatment may help improve inflammation and blood sugar (glucose) levels in people who are unable to exercise, according to a new study. The findings are published ahead of print in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

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.