Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cell rigidity linked to activity in proteins associated with cancer

Date:
July 3, 2011
Source:
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Summary:
Scientists have demonstrated that exerting mechanical force on cells activates Rho GEF proteins through distinct signaling pathways. The Rho GEFs activate Rho proteins that are part of the RAS superfamily -- a class of proteins associated with cancer activity.

An unusual collaboration between cell and developmental biologists and physicists at UNC-Chapel Hill is providing insights into the relationship between the physical properties of cells and the signals that influence cell behavior.

In a paper published online May 15 in the journal Nature Cell Biology, a team led by Keith Burridge, PhD, Kenan distinguished professor of cell and developmental biology and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Richard Superfine, PhD, Taylor-Williams distinguished professor of physics and astronomy, demonstrates that exerting mechanical force on cells activates Rho GEF proteins through distinct signaling pathways. The Rho GEFs activate Rho proteins that are part of the RAS superfamily -- a class of proteins associated with cancer activity.

The cross-disciplinary team applied magnetic particles to cells and then used magnets to exert force on the cells -- creating extracellular tension.

"This experiment was only possible because we were able to bring together a team of physicists and cell biologists," said Burridge.

"It's very exciting because we have identified the entire pathway between the tension exerted on the cell to proteins that, in turn, activate other proteins that we know tend to be hyperactive in cancer," he added.

Scientists have long believed that the mechanical environment of cells affects their growth and properties. For example, solid tumor cells tend to have an altered stiffness. Other researchers have shown that the stiffer the cell matrix, the worse the prognosis. There is evidence that rigid tumors shed more cells, which escape the original tumor site and may lead to a greater chance of cancer spreading through metastasis.

"There has been a hypothesis that cell stiffness and tension create a vicious cycle leading to enhanced growth, more cell density, more tension, and larger tumors," said Burridge. "Innovation funding from the University Cancer Research Fund allowed us to identify the pathway and provided data that resulted in a grant renewal worth approximately $1.3 million over the next four years."

In addition to Burridge and Superfine, the research team included postdoctoral fellow Christophe Guilluy, PhD, and assistant professor Rafael Garcia-Mata, PhD, from the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and graduate student Vinay Swaminathan, PhD, and assistant professor E. Timothy O'Brien, PhD, from the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

In addition to the UCRF innovation grant, this research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and a Marie Curie Outgoing International Fellowship from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme.


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. Christophe Guilluy, Vinay Swaminathan, Rafael Garcia-Mata, E. Timothy O’Brien, Richard Superfine, Keith Burridge. The Rho GEFs LARG and GEF-H1 regulate the mechanical response to force on integrins. Nature Cell Biology, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/ncb2254

Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Cell rigidity linked to activity in proteins associated with cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110516121529.htm>.
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. (2011, July 3). Cell rigidity linked to activity in proteins associated with cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110516121529.htm
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Cell rigidity linked to activity in proteins associated with cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110516121529.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
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