Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Action of protein linked to key molecular switch pinpointed

Date:
April 19, 2010
Source:
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Summary:
A study led by a professor of cell and developmental biology demonstrates that a protein called Rho GDI1 is a key to maintaining a balance of Rho proteins that allow optimal cellular functioning.

Rho proteins have been described as "molecular switches" and play a role in cell migration, cell proliferation, cell death, gene expression, and multiple other common cellular functions.

Understanding the actions of Rho proteins is important to illuminating cellular mechanisms related to cancer, which is fundamentally a disease of cell misbehavior. When cells multiply too rapidly, multiply and migrate into inappropriate places in the body, do not die after their natural lifespan or create networks of blood vessels where they should not, cancer results.

A study led by Keith Burridge, PhD, professor of cell and developmental biology, published online April 18 in the journal Nature Cell Biology, demonstrates that a protein called Rho GDI1 is a key to maintaining a balance of Rho proteins that allow optimal cellular functioning.

Traditionally scientists have understood the regulation of these proteins to be a function of "on" or "off" switching and that Rho GDI was a passive player in this process. This study demonstrates that the mechanism is more subtle, like a dimmer switch on a lighting panel that allows for a spectrum of levels. Rho proteins are inherently unstable because they are partially made up of a lipid (or fat). RhoGDI contains a "pocket" that can bind this lipid, thus protecting it.

One of the most important findings from this study is that changes in the expression level of one Rho protein can affect the expression levels and activities of other members of the family. In cells there is a limited amount of RhoGDI, and many different Rho proteins compete for binding to RhoGDI. The authors show that, when the protein levels of a particular Rho protein are artificially increased, the other Rho proteins are displaced from RhoGDI and degraded. Notably, previous studies have shown that many cancers exhibit altered levels of Rho proteins, raising the possibility that RhoGDI may be playing an important role in the biology of these cancer cells.

The authors hope that their work will help scientists better understand the subtle balancing mechanism that keeps cells functioning optimally, eventually leading to therapies that might target the balance of these proteins to prevent the cellular misbehavior that leads to cancers. The authors present preliminary results with two different cancer cell lines showing a correlation between the expression levels of RhoGDI and the levels and activities of Rho proteins.

The research team includes additional investigators from UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, UNC McAllister Heart Institute, Nice Sophia Antipolis University in France and Northwestern University in Chicago.

The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, a Department of Defense Breast Cancer Predoctoral Fellowship, a Susan Komen Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, a AHA Beginning Grant in Aid, an AHA Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Fondation pur la Recherche Medicale Fellowship and an Allocation INSERM InCa/AVENIR.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Etienne Boulter, Rafael Garcia-Mata, Christophe Guilluy, Adi Dubash, Guendalina Rossi, Patrick J. Brennwald, Keith Burridge. Regulation of Rho GTPase crosstalk, degradation and activity by RhoGDI1. Nature Cell Biology, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/ncb2049

Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Action of protein linked to key molecular switch pinpointed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100419151106.htm>.
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. (2010, April 19). Action of protein linked to key molecular switch pinpointed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100419151106.htm
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Action of protein linked to key molecular switch pinpointed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100419151106.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
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