Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Cells Communicate To Activate The Cell Division Machinery

Date:
May 7, 2008
Source:
Institute for Research in Biomedicine
Summary:
A study performed on the fruit fly unveils how distinct signaling pathways operate between neighboring cells in order to activate the cell proliferation machinery that results in the organized growth of the fly wing. The signaling pathways involved in this process are also conserved in humans, and when altered give rise to the appearance of different types of cancer, including cancer of the colon and skin, and leukemia.

Notch activation (green) and cell proliferation (red) in the Drosophila wing primordium.
Credit: Image courtesy of Institute for Research in Biomedicine

A study performed by researchers at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) on the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, unveils how distinct signaling pathways operate between neighboring cells in order to activate the cell proliferation machinery that results in the organized growth of the fly wing. The signaling pathways involved in this process are also conserved in humans, and when altered in diverse tissues give rise to the appearance of different types of cancer, including cancer of the colon and skin, and leukemia. The study has been undertaken in the Cell and Development Biology Laboratory headed by ICREA Research Professor, Marco Milán, at IRB Barcelona.

The researchers have shown that the Notch and Wnt/Wingless signaling pathways exert control over the cell division machinery through two gene effectors, the proto-oncogen dMyc and the micro-RNA bantam. Regulated by Notch and Wnt/Wingless, these two genes instruct another gene, E2F, to activate the cell division machinery. "All the components were already known but we have clarified the order in the signaling cascade and the interaction between the molecular elements that regulate proliferation for the correct development of the wing", explains Héctor Herranz, first author of the article.

Marco Milán: "Diseases like cancer cannot be understood without taking into account how the distinct molecular elements are integrated".

Notch and Wnt/Wingless play a key role in embryo development, cell growth (proliferation) and the transformation of cells into specialized types (differentiation). The interesting feature is that these two pathways are highly conserved in humans and when mutations arise tumors appear. The fruit fly wing is a vital experimental model to find future biomedical applications. Marco Milán goes on to say, "this finding could provide clues about how to repress the cell proliferation signals in cancer".

The context is relevant

Furthermore, the research has elucidated the relationship between Notch and Wnt/Wingless in the control of proliferation and the development of the fly wing. In fact, Notch has a repressor function, that is to say, when it is activated the cell division machinery is arrested. Only when Wnt/Wingless starts to work is Notch silenced, thereby triggering the cascade of genes that allow proliferation. “Notch works in this context as a tumor suppressor”, explains Milán, “while Wnt/Wingless acts as an oncogen, that is, by canceling the action of Notch it allows the cell division machinery to operate”. But the fundamental point for the researchers is that Notch and Wnt/Wingless can interchange their roles depending on the context in which they are operating because the true executors of the action are the genes that these proteins regulate, in this case dMyc and bantam.

Researchers ask how, for example, in function of the tissue that is affected, Notch can serve as a “tumor suppressor” or as an oncogene. The conclusions drawn from this study, point to effectors being regulated by this pathway. “We have highlighted the importance of the context in which these signaling pathways work and that knowledge about the underlying regulatory elements is crucial to understand how a certain function is performed”, explains Herranz.

According to Milán, diseases like cancer cannot be understood without taking into account how the distinct elements are integrated: that is to say, crosstalk between neighboring cells, effector genes and cell cycle machinery. “Now we must look for similarities in vertebrates and humans to see whether these elements work in the same way in diseases”, concludes.

Reference article: A Wingless and Notch double-repression mechanism regulates G1-S transition in the Drosophila wing. Héctor Herranz, Lidia Pérez, Francisco A. Martín, and Marco Milán. EMBO J, 2008 (e-pub ahead of print)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute for Research in Biomedicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute for Research in Biomedicine. "How Cells Communicate To Activate The Cell Division Machinery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080505120757.htm>.
Institute for Research in Biomedicine. (2008, May 7). How Cells Communicate To Activate The Cell Division Machinery. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080505120757.htm
Institute for Research in Biomedicine. "How Cells Communicate To Activate The Cell Division Machinery." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080505120757.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) — The study weighs in on a debate over whether chimps are naturally violent or become that way due to human interference in the environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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