It's well known in conventional biology that during the process of mammalian cell division, or mitosis, a mother cell divides equally into two daughter cells. But when it comes to cancer, say UCLA researchers, mother cells may be far more prolific.
Bioengineers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science developed a platform to mechanically confine cells, simulating the in vivo three-dimensional environments in which they divide, and found that, upon confinement, cancer cells often split into three or more daughter cells.
"We hope that this platform will allow us to better understand how the 3-D mechanical environment may play a role in the progression of a benign tumor into a malignant tumor that kills," said Dino Di Carlo, an associate professor of bioengineering at UCLA and principal investigator on the research.
The biological process of mitosis is tightly regulated by specific biochemical checkpoints to ensure that each daughter cell receives an equal set of sub-cellular materials, such as chromosomes or organelles, to create new cells properly.
However, when these checkpoints are miscued, the mistakes can have detrimental consequences. One key component is chromosomal count: When a new cell acquires extra chromosomes or loses chromosomes known as aneuploidy the regulation of important biological processes can be disrupted, a key characteristic of many invasive cancers. A cell that divides into more than two daughter cells undergoes a complex choreography of chromosomal motion that can result in aneuploidy.
By investigating the contributing factors that lead to mismanagement during the process of chromosome segregation, scientists may better understand the progression of cancer, said the researchers, whose findings were recently published online in the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE.
For the study, the UCLA team created a microfluidic platform to mechanically confine canc
|Contact: Matthew Chin|
University of California - Los Angeles