Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hungry cells, on a binge, know their own limits

Date:
July 16, 2010
Source:
NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research)
Summary:
Cells that consume parts of themselves can stop this process autonomously as well, according to new research. The self-cannibalism is part of the normal digestive process of the cell, but also a survival mechanism in times of famine. This is what makes it difficult for doctors to 'starve out' cancer cells, for instance.

Cells that consume parts of themselves can stop this process autonomously as well. This was discovered by NWO researcher Judith Klumperman's group, in collaboration with colleagues from the National Institute of Health in Washington. The self-cannibalism is part of the normal digestive process of the cell, but also a survival mechanism in times of famine. This is what makes it difficult for doctors to 'starve out' cancer cells, for instance.

Related Articles


The research results were published June 6 in Nature.

Cells require food, just like people, and excrete products after the food has been digested, Furthermore, just as people can use up their own reserves of fat, cells can use their own products as a fuel. This is called autophagy. How cells reached the stage of being able to digest themselves was already clear, but researchers were in the dark about the consequences of this. Klumperman and her colleagues discovered that a single enzyme ensures the cell does not consume itself entirely, whether in rats, fish, birds or people: the enzyme mTOR.

Halting the binge

Cells must be able to regulate autophagy, as otherwise they might consume too much. This would result in a disrupted cellular function and ultimately in the death of the cell. To discover how cells did this, the researchers deprived the cells of food over a lengthy period. They saw that the mTOR kinase (an enzyme that provides other proteins with a phosphate group) was inhibited and at that point the cell autophagy started. When the mTOR was reactivated, this process stopped. The cell then activated mTOR using the products of autophagy, giving rise to a self-regulating system.

For autophagy, part of the cell content is first of all isolated by a membrane. The resulting autophagosome receives digestive enzymes by fusing with a lysosome that already contains these. The result is an autolysosome. The researchers observed that the cell recycles the lysosomes during autophagy and generates new lysosomes from this.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Li Yu, Christina K. McPhee, Lixin Zheng, Gonzalo A. Mardones, Yueguang Rong, Junya Peng, Na Mi, Ying Zhao, Zhihua Liu, Fengyi Wan, Dale W. Hailey, Viola Oorschot, Judith Klumperman, Eric H. Baehrecke, Michael J. Lenardo. Termination of autophagy and reformation of lysosomes regulated by mTOR. Nature, 2010; 465 (7300): 942 DOI: 10.1038/nature09076

Cite This Page:

NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). "Hungry cells, on a binge, know their own limits." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100714104237.htm>.
NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). (2010, July 16). Hungry cells, on a binge, know their own limits. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100714104237.htm
NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). "Hungry cells, on a binge, know their own limits." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100714104237.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis Try Swapping Success

GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis Try Swapping Success

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 2, 2015) GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis have completed a series of asset swaps worth more than $20 billion. As Grace Pascoe reports they say the deal will reshape both drugmakers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Can West Africa Rebuild After Ebola?

How Can West Africa Rebuild After Ebola?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 2, 2015) How best to rebuild the three West African countries struggling with Ebola will be discussed in Brussels this week. As Hayley Platt reports Sierra Leone has the toughest job ahead - its once thriving economy has been ravaged by the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Often Give In To Vaccine-Wary Parents

Doctors Often Give In To Vaccine-Wary Parents

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) A new survey published in the journal Pediatrics found many doctors are giving in to parents&apos; requests to delay vaccinating their children. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Ways To Celebrate National Nutrition Month

The Best Ways To Celebrate National Nutrition Month

Buzz60 (Mar. 2, 2015) Just when your New Year&apos;s Resolution is losing steam, March comes with fresh inspiration. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has some tips to incorporate into your lifestyle during National Nutrition Month. 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


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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