Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protein critical for tissue regeneration discovered

Date:
March 20, 2012
Source:
University of California, Merced
Summary:
Researchers have shown that a protein found in humans stops regeneration when disabled in planaria, providing a potential strategy for preventing the growth of cancer cells.

The planarian on the left is expressing the gene TOR. The planarian on the right is not, the result of a genetic manipulations that disrupts gene expression.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of California, Merced

A flatworm known for its ability to regenerate cells is shedding more light on how cancer could be treated and how regenerative medicine could better target diseases, according to researchers at the University of California, Merced.

In research published online in the Journal of Cell Science, biology Professor Nιstor Oviedo has shown that signaling by a protein called Target of Rapamycin (TOR) -- found in humans and most other mammals -- is crucial for planaria's unique tissue regeneration. Disabling the protein prevents the flatworm's regrowth, a sign that disabling it in abnormal cells could prevent the growth of a cancer.

"It's a new model in which we can study stem cell behavior by manipulating the signaling pathways," Oviedo said.

Researchers have recognized that the TOR protein plays a role in cancer, aging and degenerative diseases, but they haven't figured out how it works.

Oviedo's lab is approaching this question using tiny flatworms known as planaria. Long relegated as a scientific oddity, the planarian is now among the species that could be crucial in understanding the role of stem cells. The worm's ability to repair itself is unparalleled, and its secrets could help combat cancer and degenerative diseases.

For this study, Oviedo's lab disabled the TOR protein in planaria and then amputated parts of the flatworm. Under typical circumstances, the organism would be able to repair itself.

But researchers discovered the planaria's stem cells recognized they needed to regrow tissue but were unable to regenerate it in the correct place and instead formed tissues in abnormal places. This kind of regeneration hasn't been reported before. Additionally, the planaria with the disabled protein were unable to grow, even if nutrients were available.

In addition to stopping cancer, understanding TOR and its role in regulation could lead to the development of medicines to encourage tissue regeneration and to fight degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's.

Graduate student Harshani Peiris, who was the lead author on the paper, said the planaria gives researchers the ability to look at the reactions of an entire organism, rather than just looking at cells in a Petri dish.

"We have a cutting-edge look into what's happening at the system level," Peiris said.

The research was funded by a grant from the UC Cancer Research Coordinating Committee.

The paper's coauthors include undergraduate students Daniel Ramirez and Devon Davidian, Professor Marcos Garcia-Ojeda, and staff members Elyze Ozamoto and Frank Weckerle.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, Merced. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. Harshani Peiris, Frank Weckerle, Elyse Ozamoto, Daniel Ramirez, Devon Davidian, Marcos E. Garcνa-Ojeda and Nιstor J. Oviedo. TOR Signaling Regulates Planarian Stem Cells and Controls Localized and Organismal Growth. Journal of Cell Science, 2012 DOI: 10.1242/%u200Bjcs.104711

Cite This Page:

University of California, Merced. "Protein critical for tissue regeneration discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120320161318.htm>.
University of California, Merced. (2012, March 20). Protein critical for tissue regeneration discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120320161318.htm
University of California, Merced. "Protein critical for tissue regeneration discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120320161318.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) — Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
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