Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Detail Parts Of Biological "Motor" Key To Cell Life

Date:
February 22, 2001
Source:
Ohio University
Summary:
Scientists studying cellular division have longed for clues to how cancer cells are able to divide so rapidly. Now, studies by Ohio University biochemists are offering several new pieces needed to solve that mystery.

BOSTON – Scientists studying cellular division have longed for clues to how cancer cells are able to divide so rapidly. Now, studies by Ohio University biochemists are offering several new pieces needed to solve that mystery.

Related Articles


In work presented Feb. 20 at the Biophysical Society annual meeting in Boston, scientists detail how key parts of a biological "motor" essential to the health of cells in all living creatures work together to transport materials during cell division and in other cellular processes. Understanding the design of this motor could help researchers stop its activity when cell division goes haywire, as it does with cancer.

Every cell contains an assembly of proteins that acts like a motor on a one-way train: it quickly and efficiently moves materials such as chromosomes from the edge of the cell to the center. This protein motor, called dynein, is believed to be made up of 12 specialized parts, said Elisar Barbar of Ohio University.

"It is fundamental to the life of the cell. If you remove one piece of the protein the cell will die," said Barbar, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences and lead researcher on the study, part of which also appears this month in the journal Biochemistry.

Barbar and her colleagues have focused their studies on several of the 12 pieces of dynein, including one known as LC8. Studies of fruit flies suggest that mutations of LC8 can cause sterility, neural defects and even death.

Much like a jigsaw puzzle, each part of the dynein protein must have a specific shape or structure and be in a certain position to lock together, which is crucial to the function of the motor, Barbar said. Her research team has located specific spots where some of the pieces are linked together, and also is examining where the parts of the protein latch onto its cargo – chromosomes and other materials – to move it across the cell.

Once scientists understand how the parts of dynein work, they hope to learn whether they can disable the protein during the abnormal cell growth of cancer. If researchers can stop dynein from transporting chromosomes, the cells won't divide, explained Michael Hare, an Ohio University research assistant professor who collaborated on the research, which is supported by a $150,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Such a finding would make possible the development of drugs to attack the protein's function. It's a strategy similar to the one used with the anti-cancer drug Taxol, which destroys the pathways on which the dynein travels. "You can either pull up the train tracks or destroy the engine – it will have the same effect," Hare said.

But scientists first must learn more about how the parts of dynein function, Barbar said. Research on dynein is in its infancy, as technologies such as mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) have only recently been used by scientists to examine the protein's structure at the atomic level.

Though the research was conducted on proteins derived from the fruit fly, the findings have implications for humans as well, Barbar noted. "LC8 is virtually the same in humans as it is in flies, so it must be so important that it didn't change through evolution," she said.

Co-authors on the Biochemistry paper were Brian Kleinman and Daniel Imhoff, undergraduate students at Ohio University, and Thomas S. Hays and Mingang Li of the University of Minnesota. The research also is funded by the Ohio Cancer Research Associates and the American Cancer Society.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio University. "Scientists Detail Parts Of Biological "Motor" Key To Cell Life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010222075051.htm>.
Ohio University. (2001, February 22). Scientists Detail Parts Of Biological "Motor" Key To Cell Life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010222075051.htm
Ohio University. "Scientists Detail Parts Of Biological "Motor" Key To Cell Life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010222075051.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
British 'Bio-Bus' Is Powered By Human Waste

British 'Bio-Bus' Is Powered By Human Waste

Buzz60 (Nov. 21, 2014) British company GENeco debuted what its calling the Bio-Bus, a bus fueled entirely by biomethane gas produced from food scraps and sewage. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins