Navigation Links
Fruit flies provide new knowledge about uninhibited cell growth

In a new study, scientists at the University of Copenhagen show that a specific type of carbohydrate plays an important role in the intercellular signalling that controls the growth and development of the nervous system. In particular, defects in that carbohydrate may result in the uninhibited cell growth that characterizes the genetic disease neurofibromatosis and certain types of cancer. The results have just been published in the well-reputed journal PNAS.

Scientists from The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen have put a special type of fruit fly under the microscope. The new research results turn the spotlight on a certain group of carbohydrates the so-called glycolipids and their influence on the cells' complicated communication system. In the long term, this model study can shine new light on the disease neurofibromatosis for the benefit of patients the world over. Egghead to the right: changes in cellular growth. Foto: Klaus Qvortrup

"The most important thing about our discovery right now is that we document a new function for carbohydrates in the communication between cells. We also show how disturbances in the signalling pathways cause changes in cellular growth. This is knowledge that cancer researchers can develop," says Ole Kjrulff, doctor and associate professor at the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, who has conducted the study together with Dr. Katja Dahlgaard, and Hans Wandall, associate professor at the Copenhagen Center for Glycomics.

Sugar chains control cell growth

Glycolipids are compounds consisting of fats linked to long chains of sugar molecules. They are located in the cell membrane, where they serve various functions, such as protecting the cell or making it recognizable to the immune system.

"In the fruit fly model, if we prevent the sugar chains from lengthening, we can show that carbohydrate plays an important role in controlling the growth of normal cells. When the sugar chains are shortened, the tissue grows dramatically on account of increased cell division. In particular, it appears that the nervous system's support cells the glia cells are influenced," explains Hans Wandall, associate professor.

Neurofibromatosis can cause deformity

The new results also influence our understanding of neurofibromatosis. This is a heritable disorder that results in unsightly tumours so-called neurofibromas in the nerves and skin. The disease affects approximately 20 people out of 100,000 and varies from mild to severe cases with decided deformities. The condition also affects the bones and often causes learning problems:

"When you get closer to an understanding of the mechanisms that result in a certain disease, naturally it is easier to influence the disease process in the form of drug development in the longer term. Neurofibromatosis is not a terminal disease, but it very much affects the life quality of the people who have it because the symptoms are so noticeable," explains Ole Kjrulff. Hans Wandall adds that the disease is also associated with certain types of cancer, particularly in the brain.

Contact: Associate Professor Ole Kjrulff
University of Copenhagen

Related biology news :

1. First fruitful, then futile: Ammonites or the boon and bane of many offspring
2. An invasive Asian fly is taking over European fruit
3. £7 public funding available for research to deliver better fruit and vegetables
4. Fruit flies drawn to the sweet smell of youth
5. Researchers find gene critical to sense of smell in fruit fly
6. Fruit flies watch the sky to stay on course
7. Using radiation to sterilize insect pests may protect California fruits and vegetables
8. UCLA biologists slow the aging process in fruit flies
9. Fruit fly intestine may hold secret to the fountain of youth
10. When chefs move the fruit
11. Fruits and vegetables reduce risks of specific types of colorectal cancers
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/9/2016)... 9, 2016 Paris Police ... video security solution to ensure the safety of people and ... during the major tournament Teleste, an international technology ... services, announced today that its video security solution will be ... back up public safety across the country. The system roll-out ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... LONDON , June 2, 2016 ... has awarded the 44 million US Dollar project, ... Security Embossed Vehicle Plates including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure ... world leader in the production and implementation of Identity Management ... in January, however Decatur was selected ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... June 1, 2016 Favorable Government ... Administration and Criminal Identification to Boost Global Biometrics System ... released TechSci Research report, " Global Biometrics Market ... Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the global biometrics ... 2021, on account of growing security concerns across various ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network ... Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is ... projects are designed, built and brought to market. , The Design Lab is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to identifying, protecting ... has closed its Series A funding round, according to ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis Fund that ... meet our current goals," stated Matthew Nunez . ... complete validation on the current projects in our pipeline, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free webinar on Performing Quality ... 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , Incomplete investigations are still ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 2016 Cell Applications, Inc. and StemoniX ... produce up to one billion human induced pluripotent ... week. These high-quality, consistent stem cells enable researchers ... spend more time doing meaningful, relevant research. This ... manufacturing process that produces affordable, reliable HiPSC for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: