Navigation Links
Understanding cell organization to tackle cancer
Date:12/23/2012

Scientists at The University of Manchester have identified how cells know which way up they need to be. The discovery could help in the fight against cancer because in the early stages of the disease the cells become disorganised.

Professor Charles Streuli and Dr Nasreen Akhtar of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research have conducted new research that leads to a better understanding of cell polarity. Properly organised tissues are vital to maintaining functional organs and a healthy body. Part of being organised includes cells being in the correct position within the tissue and the right way up, because the top and bottom of cells have different functions.

The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a layer of protein rich material that surrounds tissues and helps to design and shape all of our organs. Previous studies have demonstrated that the ECM sticks to the cells and guides them into the right position. What hadn't been identified is how the ECM communicates that message.

To understand this better Professor Streuli and Dr Akhtar looked at epithelial cells, which make up the majority of tissues within the body. They studied epithelial cells of the breast, which make milk. These cells also form the linings of mammary ducts to carry milk towards the nipple. It's vital that these cells are organised correctly in order to make milk accessible for the baby. One of the first signs of cancer is that the epithelial cells become disorganised.

Breast epithelial cells connect to the ECM through receptors called integrins. In experiments using mice Professor Streuli and Dr Akhtar removed one of the genes responsible for integrins. They found that without that gene, the cells were both the wrong way round and in the wrong place so the breast tissue became disorganised. They then tried removing integrins in cultured cells from the breast, which produced the same effect of disorder.

Further study revealed that within the cell the integrin receptors connect to the protein ILK. This protein then links to microtubules, a network that forms the transport machinery of the cell. Integrins and microtubules ensure that inside the cell the correct proteins are transported to the top and the bottom of the cell.

The findings have been published in the journal Nature Cell Biology. Commenting on the research Professor Streuli says: "What we identified is a vital interplay between the transport machinery and the integrin receptors which makes sure that proteins are transported to the correct area of the cell. Without this interplay the proteins end up in the wrong place, and this can lead to cells becoming disorganised."

He continues: "What's really interesting is that when we compared breast tissue from our experiments with tissues of patients with early forms of breast cancer, they looked very similar. The cells were upside down and disorganised so they couldn't carry out their functions. We hope that our work to better understand cell polarity could ultimately lead to better diagnosis for cancer patients."

Whilst Professor Streuli and Dr Akhtar only looked at epithelial cells within the breast, they are confident their findings will translate to other organs. The accuracy of their experiments was greatly increased through the use of special 3D cultures to grow the cells, where they form tiny organs that look remarkably similar to real breast tissue.

Dr Akhtar explains: "Growing the breast cells so that they can form 3D structures rather than on hard petri dishes means they develop in a way that is much more akin to how they grow in the body. We were one of the first groups in the UK to be using this technology and we've been really pleased with the results."

Dr Akhtar has been working on this research for five years. She says: "I've been touched by cancer in my own family so I'm really passionate about understanding this devastating disease better. Over 90% of cancers come from epithelial cells, which is why we chose to study them. It's fundamental to understand how healthy cells work properly in order to fully appreciate why they go wrong when cancer develops, and how best to combat the disease."

The next stage of the research will be to investigate the link between altered levels of integrin and cancer, to determine whether this causes the disorganised nature of cells seen in the early stages of the disease.


'/>"/>
Contact: Morwenna Grills
Morwenna.Grills@manchester.ac.uk
44-161-275-2111
University of Manchester
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Study helps bridge gap in understanding of suicide risk for African-American women
2. New understanding can lead to srategies for dealing with neurodegenerative diseases
3. After 100 years, understanding the electrical role of dendritic spines
4. Research reveals new understanding of X chromosome inactivation
5. Understanding antibiotic resistance using crystallography and computation
6. Advancing understanding of treatment through clinical trials
7. Researchers closer to understanding actions of cells involved in atherosclerosis
8. Studies seek better understanding and treatment of depression
9. Wayne State develops better understanding of memory retrieval between children and adults
10. Understanding flirtation in negotiation, shooter bias, love during marriage, and more
11. Discovery improves understanding of early onset inflammatory disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... of our nation’s productivity, stability, even security. Most importantly, employees are the single ... Then why are American workers so unhappy? , Just under half of American ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Coast Dental Fort Stewart is celebrating its ... location in the Exchange Furniture Mall at 112 Vilseck Road in Fort Stewart. There ... TV. Plus attendees will have the opportunity to meet general dentists Thomas Richards, DDS, ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... Missouri (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... crutches which put pressure on the armpits, the M+D Crutch evenly distributes body weight ... on their wrists and hands when using the crutches than with other crutches. , ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... ... Dr. Robert Mondavi, one of the dentists in Torrance , is ... field as more patients are discovering the many different ways they can change and ... available to them and which ones might work for their smiles. , “One ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Jvion, ... round of funding led by Eastside Partners, with participation from existing investor Martin ... customer base and accelerate its technology and product roadmap. , “Jvion ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... Including 42% Growth in Recurring Consumable Sales  ... Mauna Kea Technologies (Euronext: MKEA, OTCQX: MKEAY) inventor ... announced its sales for the first quarter ended March ... and the execution of its commercial strategy. ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... titled, "Skincare Devices Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, ... to the report, the global skincare devices market was ... anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 10.1% from ... 2023. Browse the full Skincare Devices Market (Treatment ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... -- Tie-up with Government hospitals as part ... save newborns   Fortis La Femme, ... with Breast Milk Foundation (BMF), a non-profit organization within the ... ,Amaara, in Delhi-NCR today. This non-profit centre recognizes that breast ... should be available to babies deprived of mother,s milk.  ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: