Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pathway controlling cell growth revealed

Date:
February 18, 2013
Source:
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
Summary:
Scientists have discovered a genetic defect that can halt cell growth and force cells into a death-evading survival state.

A Melbourne-based research team has discovered a genetic defect that can halt cell growth and force cells into a death-evading survival state.

Related Articles


The finding has revealed an important mechanism controlling the growth of rapidly-dividing cells that may ultimately lead to the development of new treatments for diseases including cancer.

The discovery was made by Associate Professor Joan Heath, Dr Yeliz Boglev and colleagues at the Melbourne-Parkville Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. Dr Kate Hannan, Associate Professor Rick Pearson and Associate Professor Ross Hannon at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, also contributed to the work, which was published in the journal PLOS Genetics this month.

Associate Professor Heath, a Ludwig Institute Member who recently transferred her research group to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, said the discovery was made while studying zebrafish embryos that harbour genetic mutations which prevent rapid cell growth during organ development. "Zebrafish embryos provide us with a great laboratory model for these studies because they are transparent, an attribute that allows us to track the growth of rapidly developing organs in live animals under a simple microscope. Moreover, the genes controlling growth and proliferation of developing tissues are essentially identical in zebrafish and humans, and are known to be frequently commandeered by cancer cells."

"We discovered that a mutation in a relatively under-studied gene called pwp2h leads to the faulty assembly of ribosomes, the 'protein factories' of cells, and stops cells from dividing," she said. "What was intriguing was that cells under stress from ribosome failure did not die. Instead, the cells switched on a survival mechanism called autophagy and began obtaining nutrients by digesting their own intracellular components."

Ribosomes are large molecular machines in cells that manufacture proteins, and are critical for cell growth and division. Currently, there is great interest in developing therapeutics to block ribosome production, as a strategy to prevent cancer cells from dividing.

"Our research could have implications for this type of cancer treatment," Associate Professor Heath said. "We showed that when ribosome assembly is disrupted, cells stop growing as desired, but to our surprise they enter a survival state. An anti-cancer treatment that inadvertently promotes the survival of cancer cells through autophagy is clearly not desirable. However, our findings in zebrafish show that if ribosome assembly is blocked and, at the same time, autophagy is inhibited, cells die rapidly. It is possible that a combination of inhibitors that block ribosome function and autophagy could provide an effective anti-cancer treatment," she said.

Associate Professor Heath's group is continuing its research at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, examining other genetic mutations in zebrafish that disrupt cell growth and division. "We are keen to enhance our approach by applying existing research technologies at the institute," she said. "We have identified a number of cellular processes that rapidly dividing cells -- including cancer cells -- depend on, and the next stage is to test whether they could provide new targets for anti-cancer therapy."

The research was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Victorian Government.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Yeliz Boglev, Andrew P. Badrock, Andrew J. Trotter, Qian Du, Elsbeth J. Richardson, Adam C. Parslow, Sebastian J. Markmiller, Nathan E. Hall, Tanya A. de Jong-Curtain, Annie Y. Ng, Heather Verkade, Elke A. Ober, Holly A. Field, Donghun Shin, Chong H. Shin, Katherine M. Hannan, Ross D. Hannan, Richard B. Pearson, Seok-Hyung Kim, Kevin C. Ess, Graham J. Lieschke, Didier Y. R. Stainier, Joan K. Heath. Autophagy Induction Is a Tor- and Tp53-Independent Cell Survival Response in a Zebrafish Model of Disrupted Ribosome Biogenesis. PLOS Genetics, 07 Feb 2013 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.100327

Cite This Page:

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. "Pathway controlling cell growth revealed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130218092713.htm>.
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. (2013, February 18). Pathway controlling cell growth revealed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130218092713.htm
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. "Pathway controlling cell growth revealed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130218092713.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) 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