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 August 27, 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 August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) We all know that it is important to eat our fruits and vegetables but do you know which ones are the best for you? Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bad Memories Turn Good In Weird Mouse Brain Study

Bad Memories Turn Good In Weird Mouse Brain Study

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) MIT researchers were able to change whether bad memories in mice made them anxious by flicking an emotional switch in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Couples Who Smoke Weed Together Stay Together?

Do Couples Who Smoke Weed Together Stay Together?

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) A study out of University at Buffalo claims couples who smoke marijuana are less likely to experience intimate partner violence. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Panda Might Have Faked Pregnancy To Get Special Treatment

Panda Might Have Faked Pregnancy To Get Special Treatment

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) A panda in China showed pregnancy symptoms that disappeared after two months of observation. One theory: Her pseudopregnancy was a ploy for perks. 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