Navigation Links
Cell rigidity linked to activity in proteins associated with cancer

Chapel Hill, NC An unusual collaboration between cell and developmental biologists and physicists at UNC-Chapel Hill is providing insights into the relationship between the physical properties of cells and the signals that influence cell behavior.

In a paper published online yesterday in the journal Nature Cell Biology, a team led by Keith Burridge, PhD, Kenan distinguished professor of cell and developmental biology and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Richard Superfine, PhD, Taylor-Williams distinguished professor of physics and astronomy, demonstrates that exerting mechanical force on cells activates Rho GEF proteins through distinct signaling pathways. The Rho GEFs activate Rho proteins that are part of the RAS superfamily a class of proteins associated with cancer activity.

The cross-disciplinary team applied magnetic particles to cells and then used magnets to exert force on the cells creating extracellular tension.

"This experiment was only possible because we were able to bring together a team of physicists and cell biologists," said Burridge.

"It's very exciting because we have identified the entire pathway between the tension exerted on the cell to proteins that, in turn, activate other proteins that we know tend to be hyperactive in cancer," he added.

Scientists have long believed that the mechanical environment of cells affects their growth and properties. For example, solid tumor cells tend to have an altered stiffness. Other researchers have shown that the stiffer the cell matrix, the worse the prognosis. There is evidence that rigid tumors shed more cells, which escape the original tumor site and may lead to a greater chance of cancer spreading through metastasis.

"There has been a hypothesis that cell stiffness and tension create a vicious cycle leading to enhanced growth, more cell density, more tension, and larger tumors," said Burridge. "Innovation funding from the University Cancer Research Fund allowed us to identify the pathway and provided data that resulted in a grant renewal worth approximately $1.3 million over the next four years."

In addition to Burridge and Superfine, the research team included postdoctoral fellow Christophe Guilluy, PhD, and assistant professor Rafael Garcia-Mata, PhD, from the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and graduate student Vinay Swaminathan, PhD, and assistant professor E. Timothy O'Brien, PhD, from the Department of Physics and Astronomy.


Contact: Ellen de Graffenreid
University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Gene variation linked to infertility in women, study finds
2. School bullying, violence against LGBT youth linked to risk of suicide, HIV infection
3. Researchers identify DNA region linked to depression
4. Obesity linked to higher risk of prostate cancer progression
5. Agent Orange Linked to Kidney Cancer: Study
6. Gene Variant Linked to Sudden Cardiac Death Risk in Blacks
7. Lack of exercise linked to higher heart disease risk in healthy children as young as 9
8. Chronic Tylenol Use May Be Linked to Blood Cancer, Study Suggests
9. Ring Finger Length Linked to ALS, Study Suggests
10. Kids Birth Month Seems to Be Linked to Celiac Disease: Study
11. Single Gene Linked to Evolution of Human Brain
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, ... presented a Bronze Wellness at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary ... part of the 7th annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from a complex set ... drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this pain and suffering, ... traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of emotions, from depression, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Pulmonary Hypertension Association ... it will receive two significant new grants to support its work to advance ... 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and scientists for their work in ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is ... Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. ... the highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... at the Clinical Decision Making in Emergency Medicine conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, ... journal articles published in Emergency Medicine Practice and Pediatric Emergency Medicine ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... Ontario , June 27, 2016  VMS Rehab ... Company,s Board will take whatever measures required to build ... Company,s stock which is currently listed on the OTC ... Wexler, Company Chairman and CEO, "We are seeing an ... difficult to understand, not only by the Company, but ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... FRANCISCO, Calif. , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... ), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for ... unmet needs, today announced the closing of its ... of common stock, at the public offering price ... in the offering were offered by GBT. GBT ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 The Academy ... of recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies ... with entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, a ... "value" of new medicines. The recommendations address ... not appear on the drug label, a prohibition that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: