Navigation Links
Molecular switch controls the destiny of self-eating cells

The study is the result of a collaboration of scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, University of Michigan, and University of California San Diego, USA, who were interested in finding out whether autophagy can be affected by events in the cell nucleus. Surprisingly, they discovered that a signal chain in the nucleus serves as a kind of molecular switch that determines whether the cell dies or survives.

Put simply autophagy is a process whereby the cell consumes parts of itself, and is a way for it to clean up abnormal lumps of proteins and rid itself of damaged organelles (the cell's 'organs') by breaking them down. The cell also uses the process when stressed by external circumstances, such as starvation, to keep itself alive until better times. So while autophagy can protect the cell, it can also lead to its death. However, just how the choice between life and death is controlled has remained a mystery.

Autophagy is involved in numerous diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammations, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, as well as in physiological adaptation to exercise, the development of the immune system and ageing.

"Given the role of autophagy in human disease, all we have to do is select a disease model and test whether there's anything to be gained from influencing the new signal network that we've identified," says Dr Bertrand Joseph at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Oncology-Pathology, who headed the study.

To date, autophagy has mainly been considered a process in the cell's cytoplasm; the present study can completely overturn this view since the results indicate that events in the cell nucleus play an essential part in controlling the process once it has started. The DNA in the cell nucleus is packed around so-called histone proteins, on which different enzymes can attach acetyl groups. Such histone modification is a type of epigenetic regulation, which can influence gene expression without changing the DNA sequence. The modification of histones is a dynamic process, since some enzymes add the acetyl groups and other enzymes remove them.

The researchers studied how the outcome of the autophagy was affected by the acetylation of histone H4, and found that during the processes the acetylation of H4 decreased, which led to a reduction in the expression of autophagy-related genes. If this specific histone modification was blocked, the autophagic cells died.

"Our findings open up avenues for influencing autophagy," says Dr Joseph.


Contact: Dr. Bertrand Joseph
Karolinska Institutet

Related medicine news :

1. The Association for Molecular Pathology announces 2013 Leadership Award recipient
2. Abnormalities in new molecular pathway may increase breast cancer risk
3. Researchers gain new molecular-level understanding of the brains recovery after stroke
4. Molecular imaging enlists prostate enzyme to detect metastases
5. Molecular imaging improves care for children with brain cancer
6. Impact with Martin Sheen Exploring Molecular Medicine in a New Report
7. A molecular chain reaction in Alzheimers disease
8. Molecular Diagnostics Market - US, UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany & France Analysis in New Research Report at
9. The Institute of Regenerative & Molecular Orthopedics Applauds Newly Released Study on Platelet-Rich Plasma
10. First prospective trial shows molecular profiling timely for tailoring therapy
11. Announces the Release of New Report Called The World Market for Molecular Diagnostics, 5th Edition
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Lizzie’s Lice Pickers just announced a ... customers 10% off of their purchase of lice treatment product. In addition, customers will ... to a company spokesperson. “Finding lice is a sure way to ruin the holidays, ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... LOS ANGELES, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only ... age of 30 (see Table 1-1 ). More than 3.7 billion people under ... simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), according to WHO's first global estimates of HSV-1 infection ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A simply groundbreaking television series, "Voices in ... that delves into an array of issues that are presently affecting Americans. Dedicated to ... dialogue, this show is changing the subjects consumers focus on, one episode at a ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... CBD College is proud to announce that on November 20th, ... its Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. CBD College is honored to join this very short ... universities in the state of California make the cut. CBD College is officially the ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Avid collector, Andrew Hawley from Vintage Rock Posters, announces his ... is one of Joplin's most famous and beautiful concert posters. The concert was held ... Ann Arbor. The According to Hawley, "It is hard to believe that Joplin's stardom ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... ) has announced ... High Viscosity Drugs" report to their offering. ... addition of the "Self Administration of High ... --> Research and Markets ( ) ... Administration of High Viscosity Drugs" report to ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 ... addition of the "Global Brain Monitoring ... offering. --> ) has ... Brain Monitoring Devices Market 2015-2019" report ... and Markets ( ) has announced ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  Linden Care, LLC, a ... treatment outcomes for patients suffering from chronic pain, said ... a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) enjoining Express Scripts from ... companies. --> --> ... of its legal options. --> ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: