Navigation Links
Cellular tail length tells disease tale
Date:10/31/2013

Simon Fraser University molecular biologist Lynne Quarmby's adventures in pond scum have led her and four student researchers to discover a mutation that can make cilia, the microscopic antennae on our cells, grow too long. When the antennae aren't the right size, the signals captured by them get misinterpreted. The result can be fatal.

In a newly published paper in the science journal Current Biology, the researchers discovered that the regulatory gene CNK2 is present in cilia and controls the length of these hair-like projections.

This discovery is important because cilia, or flagella, dangle from all of our cells. Their ability to propel some cells, such as sperm, and allow molecular communication in others, for example cellular responses to hormones, determines how we develop from embryos and how our bodies function in adulthood.

When cilia are too short or too long they cause various human hereditary diseases and deformities, such as too many fingers or toes, blindness and Polycystic Kidney Disease, which affects one in 600 people.

Quarmby and her doctoral student Laura Hiltonsenior and lead authors, respectively, on this paperare among the few scientists globally who study cilia-disassembly as opposed to -assembly.

A crucial part of all cells' lifecycle is their cilia's disassembly before cell division and assembly after it. The gene LF4 is a known assembly regulator, and, prior to this study, scientists thought that assembly speed controlled cilia's ultimate length or shrinkage. But Quarmby and Hilton have discovered that disassembly speed is also important, and that the regulatory gene CNK2 plays a key role in controlling it.

Similar to how a balance between water pressure and gravity determines the height of a fountain's stream, a balance of assembly and disassembly speed determines cilia's length. When growing and shrinking happen simultaneously cilia length remains constant.

Pond scum's algae make good lab models for analyzing this because they reproduce quickly, and they have cellular structure and cilia that closely parallel ours. Quarmby and Hilton have been mucking about with pond scum for years and recently started studying algae cilia with defective CNK2 and LF4 genes.

After discovering that cilia with either defective gene are abnormally long, they created an algae cell with four cilia, instead of the normal two, with two of the four engineered to glow green.

Along with two SFU undergrad students and a University of Toronto undergrad, Quarmby and Hilton watched as the fluorescent green tag began to appear at the tip of the untagged pair of cilia.

"We were able to deduce how the mutations affected the cilia's assembly and disassembly by measuring how much and how quickly green fluorescence appeared at the tip of the untagged cilia," explains Quarmby.

"We knew that we had something important when we saw that cells bearing mutations in both CNK2 and LF4 had the most extraordinarily long cilia. They were unlike anything anyone had ever seen before.

"My student Laura ran this experiment and oversaw our undergrad researchers. It gave us unique insights into the potentially key role disassembling cilia have in deciding the tails' length. Further investigation will help us understand how ciliary malfunction causes a progression of diseases."

The SFU undergrads working with Quarmby and Hilton were Kavisha Gunawardane and Marianne Schwarz. The UofT student was Joo Wan (James) Kim.


'/>"/>

Contact: Carol Thorbes
cthorbes@sfu.ca
778-782-3035
Simon Fraser University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Cellular pathway linked to diabetes, heart disease
2. Why omega-3 oils help at the cellular level
3. Discovery explains how cellular pathways converge to regulate food intake and body weight
4. New technique reveals cross-talk between 2 essential cellular processes
5. LA BioMed investigator, Dr. Yutaka Niihara, developing novel cellular therapy
6. Molecular switch identified that controls key cellular process
7. MedScope Announces Changes to the Medical Alarm Industry, Bringing it into the Cellular Age
8. The new age of proteomics: An integrative vision of the cellular world
9. Research explores road signs on the intracellular highway
10. Extracellular vesicles may open new opportunities for brain cancer diagnosis and treatment
11. Study: HIV Infection Does Not Adversely Affect Outcomes of Liver Transplantation for Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Experts ... applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, at the Hynes Convention ... health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs and patient and family ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a possible lice infestation, as reported ... head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a human host, and to infest ... in the event that lice have simply gotten out of control. , As lice are ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Lewisville, TX (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... in the United States, named Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its ... be the facility Medical Director of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Oklahoma (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... both athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures ... Oklahoma City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether it’s a matter of indulgence ... high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, those who set the bar ... from PsychTests.com reveals that behind the tendency to set low expectations is ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... 2016 One of Australia,s successful ... of a new biotechnology company, Noxopharm Limited [ABN 50 608 966 ... and to list on the ASX. Noxopharm is a ... enter a Phase 1 clinical study later this year. ... of the biggest problems facing cancer patients - the ability of ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... 2016 Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: ... Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended ("HSR"), ... Inc. ("Celator"; Nasdaq: CPXX ) expired effective ... As previously announced on May 31, 2016, ... agreement under which Jazz Pharmaceuticals has commenced a tender ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... , June 27, 2016  VMS Rehab Systems, Inc. ... will take whatever measures required to build a strong ... which is currently listed on the OTC Markets-pink current ... Chairman and CEO, "We are seeing an anomaly in ... understand, not only by the Company, but shareholders and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: