Navigation Links
FSU biologists uncover mechanisms that shape cells for better or worse

In a landmark study, biologists at Florida State University have uncovered a specific genetic and molecular mechanism that causes cell polarity -- the asymmetric shape or composition critical to a cell's proper functioning. Their findings in fruit fly eggs may help to clarify how muscular dystrophy and some cancers develop in humans.

That's because many of the genes involved in the cell-to-cell communication that triggers the development of cell polarity in Drosophila oocytes (unfertilized fruit fly eggs) also are known players in the pathogenesis of those diseases.

The research performed by FSU Assistant Professor Wu-Min Deng and doctoral student John S. Poulton in the department of biological science could foster a better overall understanding of polarity and how it develops -- and why it doesn't, sometimes with dire consequences -- in other types of cells and organisms.

Results from the FSU study are described in the Aug. 14 online edition of the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

"We have identified a novel component in the polarization of the fruit fly egg and the signals that determine the anterior-posterior positioning of its head and abdomen," said Deng.

"Such a discovery in the biological model provided by Drosophila oocytes has broad implications in humans, where, for example, neurons in the brain are designed, or polarized, to interpret information from the sense organs, and intestinal cells are polarized to take up nutrients and move them into the bloodstream," he said.

Poulton explained that in order to ensure cell polarity in the Drosophila oocyte, the cells surrounding it activate a classic signaling pathway known as the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) in a process that is also essential to development in humans and a wide range of other organisms.

"Our study shows that EGFR activation in the cells surrounding the fruit fly oocyte acts to turn off a gene known as Dystroglycan, halting production of its protein. EGFR must shut down Dystroglycan in order for the oocyte to properly polarize," Poulton said.

"We proved this by observing that mutated forms of genes in the EGFR pathway of cells surrounding the oocyte led to abnormally high levels of Dystroglycan protein, which in turn disrupted oocyte polarity. However, even with the mutated EGFR pathway gene, we were able to restore normal polarity by turning Dystroglycan off artificially," he said.

"While much remains unknown, our research confirms that EGFR regulation of Dystroglycan plays a key role in the polarization of the oocyte," Deng said. "That knowledge adds a pivotal link to our understanding of precisely how cell-to-cell communication occurs in this model system."

In recognition of groundbreaking work to-date by the FSU scientists -- and to further the understanding of the mechanisms involved in cell-cell communication leading to oocyte polarity -- the National Institutes of Health have awarded Deng a highly competitive "R01" (Research Project Grant) for health-related research and development.

Just after joining the FSU faculty in 2004, Deng led a Drosophila oogenesis study that revealed mechanisms of cell-to-cell signaling along other key pathways. Those findings were published in the 2005 editions of the journal Development.

The current study -- "Dystroglycan down-regulation links EGFR signaling and anterior-posterior polarity formation in the Drosophila oocyte" -- relied heavily on the state-of-the-art laser confocal microscope in FSU's Biological Science Imaging Resource facility. Funding for the research came in part from the American Heart Association.


'"/>

Source:Florida State University


Related biology news :

1. Octopuses occasionally stroll around on two arms, UC Berkeley biologists report
2. GeneNotes - A novel information management software for biologists
3. NYU biologists map out early stages of embryo formation
4. FSU biologists describe key role of signal-transcribing gene during cell cycle
5. High-tech tags on marine animals yield valuable data for biologists and oceanographers
6. UCSD biologists find new evidence for one-way evolution
7. UC San Diego biologists solve plant growth hormone enigma
8. NYU biologists identify gene that coordinates two cellular processes
9. MIT biologists solve vitamin puzzle
10. Yale biologists trick viruses into extinction
11. Brown cancer biologists identify major player in cell growth
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/20/2016)... 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, a leading ... for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring announced ... it has secured the final acceptance by all ... Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus will ... be installed by October, 2016. MAS distinguishes between ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... , June 9, 2016 ... Police deploy Teleste,s video security solution to ensure the safety ... France during the major tournament Teleste, ... communications systems and services, announced today that its video security ... to back up public safety across the country. ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... --  The Weather Company , an IBM Business (NYSE: ... in which consumers will be able to interact with IBM ... voice or text and receive relevant information about the product ... have long sought an advertising solution that can create a ... and valuable; and can scale across millions of interactions and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... Hill, N.C. (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 ... ... U.S. commercial operations for Amgen, will join the faculty of the University ... serve as adjunct professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Epic Sciences unveiled a liquid biopsy ... PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) ... test has already been incorporated into numerous clinical ... Over 230 clinical trials are investigating ... PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. Drugs targeting ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... UAS LifeSciences, one of ... their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target stores nationwide. The company, which has been ... Target to its list of well-respected retailers. This list includes such fine stores ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed ... to serve as their official health care provider. ... will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and ... volunteers, athletes and families. "We are ... and to bring Houston Methodist quality services and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: