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Iowa State, Ames Lab researchers find 3 unique cell-to-cell bonds
Date:11/1/2012

nxiang Zhang, a post-doctoral research associate for the University of California, Berkeley's California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences.

The project was supported by a $308,000 grant from the American Heart Association, a $150,000 Basil O'Connor Award from the March of Dimes Foundation and Sivasankar's Iowa State startup funds.

The researchers made their discovery by taking single-molecule force measurements with an atomic force microscope. They coated the microscope tip and surface with cadherins, lowered the tip to the surface so bonds could form, pulled the tip back, held it and measured how long the bonds lasted under a range of constant pulling force.

The researchers propose that cell binding "is a dynamic process; cadherins tailor their adhesion in response to changes in the mechanical properties of their surrounding environment," according to the paper.

When you cut your finger, for example, cells filling the wound might use catch bonds that resist the pulls and forces placed on the wound. As the forces go away with healing, the cells may transition to ideal bonds and then to slip bonds.

Sivasankar said problems with cell adhesion can lead to diseases, including cancers and cardiovascular problems.

And so Sivasankar said the research team is pursuing other studies of cell-to-cell bonds: "This is the beginning of a lot to be discovered about the role of these types of interactions in healthy physiology as well as diseases like cancer."


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Contact: Sanjeevi Sivasankar
sivasank@iastate.edu
515-294-1220
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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