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Study resolves debate on human cell shut-down process
Date:4/12/2012

Researchers at the University of Liverpool have resolved the debate over the mechanisms involved in the shut-down process during cell division in the body.

Research findings, published in the journal PNAS, may contribute to future studies on how scientists could manipulate this shut-down process to ensure that viruses and other pathogens do not enter the cells of the body and cause harm.

Previous research has shown that when cells divide, they cannot perform any other task apart from this one. They cannot, for example, take in food and fluids at the same time as managing the important process of dividing into 'daughter cells' to replicate the body's genetic information. Cells, instead, shut-down the intake of food and fluid during cell division and for many years it was thought that they did this by preventing a vehicle - called a receptor - from transporting nutrients through the cell membrane.

In recent years scientists have shown evidence to suggest that this theory may be wrong. Scientists have argued that the cell does not shut down the mechanisms that allow food and fluid to enter the cell as previously thought, but rather the receptors that transport this fuel are absent altogether during cell division, allowing the cell to focus on the one task of dividing.

Studies at Liverpool, however, have now shown that the original theory, first documented in 1965, is accurate. The receptors are present and able to transport food and fluid during cell division, but the mechanism that allows them through the membrane of the cell shuts-down until cell division is complete.

Dr Stephen Royle, from the University's Institute of Translational Medicine, explains: "We know that cells in the body do not have the ability to multi-task during cell division. It can only focus on the job of dividing and not on other important tasks such as uptake of nutrients. If we think of the cell membrane like a dock at a port and
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Contact: Samantha Martin
samantha.martin@liv.ac.uk
44-015-179-42248
University of Liverpool
Source:Eurekalert

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