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A study reveals how cells communicate to activate the cell division machinery
Date:5/5/2008

uture biomedical applications. Marco Miln goes on to say, this finding could provide clues about how to repress the cell proliferation signals in cancer.

The context is relevant

Furthermore, the research has elucidated the relationship between Notch and Wnt/Wingless in the control of proliferation and the development of the fly wing. In fact, Notch has a repressor function, that is to say, when it is activated the cell division machinery is arrested. Only when Wnt/Wingless starts to work is Notch silenced, thereby triggering the cascade of genes that allow proliferation. Notch works in this context as a tumor suppressor, explains Miln, while Wnt/Wingless acts as an oncogen, that is, by canceling the action of Notch it allows the cell division machinery to operate. But the fundamental point for the researchers is that Notch and Wnt/Wingless can interchange their roles depending on the context in which they are operating because the true executors of the action are the genes that these proteins regulate, in this case dMyc and bantam.

Researchers ask how, for example, in function of the tissue that is affected, Notch can serve as a tumor suppressor or as an oncogene. The conclusions drawn from this study, point to effectors being regulated by this pathway. We have highlighted the importance of the context in which these signaling pathways work and that knowledge about the underlying regulatory elements is crucial to understand how a certain function is performed, explains Herranz.

According to Miln, diseases like cancer cannot be understood without taking into account how the distinct elements are integrated: that is to say, crosstalk between neighboring cells, effector genes and cell cycle machinery. Now we must look for similarities in vertebrates and humans to see whether these elements work in the same way in diseases, concludes.


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Contact: Sonia Armengou
sonia.armengou@irbbarcelona.org
34-934-037-255
Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Source:Eurekalert

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