Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tales from the crypt lead researchers to cancer discovery

Date:
March 30, 2012
Source:
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
Summary:
Tales from the crypt are supposed to be scary, but new research shows that crypts can be places of renewal too:  Intestinal crypts, that is. Intestinal crypts are small areas of the intestine where new cells are formed to continuously renew the digestive tract.  By focusing on one protein expressed in our intestines called Lrig1, the researchers have identified a special population of intestinal stem cells that respond to damage and help to prevent cancer.

Tales from the crypt are supposed to be scary, but new research from Vanderbilt University, the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, and colleagues shows that crypts can be places of renewal too: intestinal crypts, that is. Intestinal crypts are small areas of the intestine where new cells are formed to continuously renew the digestive tract. By focusing on one protein expressed in our intestines called Lrig1, the researchers have identified a special population of intestinal stem cells that respond to damage and help to prevent cancer.

Related Articles


The research, published in the March 30 issue of Cell, also shows the diversity of stem cells in the intestines is greater than previously thought.

"Identification of these cells and the role they likely play in response to injury or damage will help advance discoveries in cancer," said Shawn Levy, Ph.D., faculty investigator at the HudsonAlpha Institute and an author on the study.

The intestines and colon are normally lined with a single layer of cells to absorb nutrients from food. There are regular small pockets in the intestines called crypts, where stem cells are gathered. Rapid turnover of the lining cells and replacement by new lining cells made in the crypt, keep the intestines and colon healthy and keep damaged cells from turning into cancerous ones.

The new paper demonstrates that, although the makeup of stem cells in the crypt is still controversial, one protein called Lrig1 can distinguish a group of long-lived cells at the base of the crypt. These Lrig1-positive stem cells do not regularly replace lining cells, but instead are only activated when there is damage or injury to the intestine.

In addition, the researchers show that the Lrig1 protein functions to prevent cancer as a tumor suppressor molecule. When the protein is completely absent from a mouse model, the mice all develop adenomas and then tumors. This suggests that Lrig1 is an important target for understanding and treating intestinal and colon cancer.

Levy added, "RNA sequencing work at HudsonAlpha found that the Lrig1-positive stem cells are molecularly different in multiple ways from previously identified crypt stem cells, in keeping with their role in responding to damage." Further work on genes expressed or silenced in this population of cells, he added, will increase understanding of both normal and cancer cell progression in the intestines.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anne E. Powell, Yang Wang, Yina Li, Emily J. Poulin, Anna L. Means, Mary K. Washington, James N. Higginbotham, Alwin Juchheim, Nripesh Prasad, Shawn E. Levy, Yan Guo, Yu Shyr, Bruce J. Aronow, Kevin M. Haigis, Jeffrey L. Franklin, Robert J. Coffey. The Pan-ErbB Negative Regulator Lrig1 Is an Intestinal Stem Cell Marker that Functions as a Tumor Suppressor. Cell, 2012; 149 (1): 146 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2012.02.042

Cite This Page:

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. "Tales from the crypt lead researchers to cancer discovery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120330123222.htm>.
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. (2012, March 30). Tales from the crypt lead researchers to cancer discovery. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120330123222.htm
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. "Tales from the crypt lead researchers to cancer discovery." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120330123222.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
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