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Molecular meet and greet
Date:8/18/2011

spected that these pre-formed clusters aid in signaling, so to test that theory, they disrupted the cytoskeleton. Sure enough, when the corridors disappeared, the cell no longer responded effectively to oxLDL.

Jaqaman compares the receptors in linear paths to people in the hallway of an office building. "People in the hallway are much more likely to bump into and chat with colleagues than people who stay in their offices all day, like receptors trapped in actin cages, or people wandering around the city, like receptors wandering freely around the cell surface," she says.

Jaqaman and Danuser stress that the mechanical nature of these structuresand how they relate to the cell's chemical and mechanical environmentmay be key to understanding how healthy and unhealthy cells function, replicate and grow. For example, it is well known, they said, that tumors are mechanically stiffer than normal tissues. In one provocative scenario, Danuser speculates that the broad variation in the mechanical properties between cancer tissues in different patients may be a key reason for the variable success of cancer chemotherapies that target cell-surface receptors.

"While most current research focuses on the study of oncogenes and tumor suppressors, it might be just the intrinsic change in cancer-tissue mechanics that leads to the change of signaling," Danuser said. "I think we absolutely have to look into that."


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Contact: David Cameron
david_cameron@hms.harvard.edu
617-432-0441
Harvard Medical School
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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