Navigation Links
Cells are crawling all over our bodies, but how?
Date:10/18/2011

For better and for worse, human health depends on a cell's motility the ability to crawl from place to place. In every human body, millions of cells are crawling around doing mostly good deeds though if any of those crawlers are cancerous, watch out.

"This is not some horrible sci-fi movie come true but, instead, normal cells carrying out their daily duties," said Florida State University cell biologist Tom Roberts. For 35 years he has studied the mechanical and molecular means by which amorphous single cells purposefully propel themselves throughout the body in amoeboid-like fashion absent muscles, bones or brains.

Meanwhile, human cells don't give up their secrets easily. In the body, they use the millions of tiny filaments found on their front ends to push the front of their cytoskeletons forward. In rapid succession the cells then retract their rears in a smooth, coordinated extension-contraction manner that puts inchworms to shame. Yet take them out of the body and put them under a microscope and the crawling changes or stops.

But now Roberts and his research team have found a novel way around uncooperative human cells.

In a landmark study led by Roberts and conducted in large part by his then-FSU postdoctoral associate Katsuya Shimabukuro, researchers used worm sperm to replicate cell motility in vitro in this case, on a microscope slide.

Doing what no other scientists had ever successfully done before, Shimabukuro disassembled and reconstituted a worm sperm cell, then devised conditions to promote thecell's natural pull-push crawling motions even in the unnatural conditions of a laboratory. Once launched, the reconstituted machinery moved just like regular worm sperm do in a natural setting giving scientists an unprecedented opportunity to watch it move.

Roberts called his former postdoc's signal achievement "careful, clever work" and work it did, making possible new, revealing images of cell motility that should help to pinpoint with never-before-seen precision just how cells crawl.

"Understanding how cells crawl is a big deal," Roberts said. "The first line of defense against invading microorganisms, the remodeling of bones, healing wounds in the skin and reconnecting of neuronal circuits during regeneration of the nervous system all depend on the capacity of specialized cells to crawl.

"On the downside, the ability of tumor cells to crawl around is a contributing factor in the metastasis of malignancies," he said. "But we believe our achievements in this latest round of basic research could eventually aid in the development of therapies that target cell motility in order to interfere with or block the metastasis of cancer."

Funding for Robert's worm-sperm study came from the National Institutes of Health. The findings are described in a paper ("Reconstitution of Amoeboid Motility In Vitro Identifies a Motor-Independent Mechanism for Cell Body Retraction") published online in the journal Current Biology.

Why worm sperm?

For one thing, said Roberts, the worm sperm is different from most cells in that itdoesn't use molecular motor proteins to facilitate its contractions; it shimmies along strictly by putting together and tearing down its tiny filaments. And the simple worm sperm makes a good model because, while it is similar to a human cell it has fewer moving parts, making it less complicated to take apart and reassemble than, say, brain or cancer cells.

Armed with the newfound ability to reconstitute amoeboid motility in vitro, cell biologists such as Roberts may be able to learn the answers to some major moving questions. Among them: How can some cells continue to crawl even after researchers have disabled their supply of myosin, the force-producing "mover protein" that functions like a motor to help power muscle and cell contraction?

For Roberts and his team, the next move will be to determine if what they've learned about worm sperm also applies to more conventional crawling cells, including tumor cells.

"As always, there will be more questions," Roberts said. "Are there multiple mechanisms collaborating to drive cell body retraction? Is there redundancy built into the motility systems?"


'/>"/>

Contact: Thomas A. Roberts
roberts@bio.fsu.edu
850-644-3237
Florida State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Simple nerve cells regulate swimming depth of marine plankton
2. Regenerating eyes using cells from hair: Stem Cells awards research into stem cell deficiency
3. Water channels in the body help cells remain in balance
4. Light can detect pre-cancerous colon cells
5. Seeking superior stem cells
6. Small molecules can starve cancer cells
7. Thin - Film Photovoltaic (PV) Cells Market Analysis to 2020 - CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Diselenide) to Emerge as the Major Technology by 2020
8. New book on germ cells from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
9. Carnegie Mellon scientists track neuronal stem cells using MRI
10. Elsevier congratulates editors of Stem Cells: Scientific Facts and Fiction upon receipt of awards
11. Mice stem cells guided into myelinating cells by the trillions
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Cells are crawling all over our bodies, but how?
(Date:4/17/2017)... 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ) ... of its 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K on Thursday April ... ... in the Investor Relations section of the Company,s website at ... at http://www.sec.gov . 2016 Year Highlights: ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, ... secure authentication solutions, today announced that it has ... Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation ... program. "Innovation has been a driving ... Thor program will allow us to innovate and ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... Florida , April 11, 2017 ... a security technology company, announces the appointment of independent Directors ... Bendheim to its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s ... ... of NXT-ID, we look forward to their guidance and benefiting ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... DuPont Pioneer and recently formed CasZyme, a ... a multiyear collaboration to identify and characterize novel CRISPR-Cas nucleases. The goal of ... across all applications. , Under the terms of the agreement, Pioneer will provide ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Wound Market with the addition of its newest module, US Hemostats & Sealants. ... for thrombin hemostats, absorbable hemostats, fibrin sealants, synthetic sealants and biologic sealants used ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... analysis platform specifically designed for life science researchers to analyze and interpret ... Rosalind Franklin, who made a major contribution to the discovery of the ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... any gene in its endogenous context, enabling overexpression experiments and avoiding the use ... with small RNA guides is transformative for performing systematic gain-of-function studies. , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: