Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How protein suicide assure healthy cell structures

Date:
October 31, 2013
Source:
Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC)
Summary:
Centrioles are tiny structures in the cell that play an important role in cell division and in the assembly of cilia and flagella. Changes in the number of centrioles are involved in diseases, such as cancer or infertility. The manipulation of these structures is being discussed for diagnosis and therapeutics.

Images of a sperm-precursor cell from the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. A) Cells with normal levels of PLK4 protein have four centrioles (green); B) Cells with higher levels of PLK4 protein have extra-number of centrioles. Green and blue colors represent centrioles and DNA, respectively.
Credit: Swadhin Jana, IGC.

Centrioles are tiny structures in the cell that play an important role in cell division and in the assembly of cilia and flagella. Changes in the number of centrioles are involved in diseases, such as cancer or infertility. Hence, the manipulation of these structures is being discussed for diagnosis and therapeutics. The regulation of centriole number has been further pinpointed in the latest issue of the scientific journal Current Biology. Researchers from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (IGC; Portugal), led by Monica Bettencourt-Dias, have now discovered that the master protein regulator in centriole formation, Polo-like kinase 4 (PLK4), needs to self-destruct in a regulated manner to ensure the presence of a normal number of centrioles in cells.

PLK4 is one of the key proteins required to control centriole formation: in its absence centrioles fail to form, while in excess PLK4 induces the formation of an extra number of those structures. Bettencourt-Dias' team has now identified how PLK4 controls its levels, and ultimately the number of centrioles. By performing different biochemical assays, the researchers observed that PLK4 is capable of auto-regulating its levels by adding chemical groups of phosphate to itself, which will act as a signal for destruction. However, if PLK4 kills itself too early this will prevent it from ensuring the control of centriole number. Data obtained by the research team shows that the destruction mechanism undergoes a determined sequence of events that provides PLK4 with enough time for centriole number control before it is degraded. First, PLK4 acts by adding phosphate groups to other PLK4 proteins. In order for this to happen, different PLK4 proteins need to encounter themselves within the cell, which only occurs when a minimal amount of PLK4 is present. During the accumulation time, PLK4 is able to act in the formation of centrioles. Furthermore, the researchers discovered that phosphate groups were added to different sites of PLK4 under a specific order. Therefore the protein commits 'suicide', but in a controlled and timely fashion.

The research team then tested if this destruction mechanism had any implications in living organisms. Using as model organism the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, they observed the natural existence of the destruction mechanism in different tissues of the fly. When this mechanism was abolished in female and male germ cells, precursors of eggs and sperm, it had an impact on the flies' fertility.

Ines Bento and Ines Cunha Ferreira, two of the authors of this work, say: "Our data indicates that PLK4 is a 'suicide' protein. Its activity determines its degradation. This is an important piece of a complex puzzle. But further research is required namely on how PLK4 regulation is coordinated within the cycle of cell division."

Mónica Bettencourt-Dias adds: "The better we understand how PLK4 protein is regulated the more we perceive how the number of centrioles is controlled. It was recently announced that inhibition of PLK4 is going to clinical trials for breast cancer by researchers in Canada, so it is important to understand how this molecule is regulated."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Inês Cunha-Ferreira, Inês Bento, Ana Pimenta-Marques, Swadhin Chandra Jana, Mariana Lince-Faria, Paulo Duarte, Joana Borrego-Pinto, Samuel Gilberto, Tiago Amado, Daniela Brito, Ana Rodrigues-Martins, Janusz Debski, Nikola Dzhindzhev, Mónica Bettencourt-Dias. Regulation of Autophosphorylation Controls PLK4 Self-Destruction and Centriole Number. Current Biology, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.09.037

Cite This Page:

Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC). "How protein suicide assure healthy cell structures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031124815.htm>.
Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC). (2013, October 31). How protein suicide assure healthy cell structures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031124815.htm
Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC). "How protein suicide assure healthy cell structures." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031124815.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) — We all know that it is important to eat our fruits and vegetables but do you know which ones are the best for you? Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) — It took Houston firefighters more than an hour to free a puppy who got its head stuck in a tire. (Aug. 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) — A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Activists Urge NYC Mayor to Ban Carriage Horses

Activists Urge NYC Mayor to Ban Carriage Horses

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) — A group of New Yorkers are putting Mayor Bill de Blasio on notice for what they say is reneging on his campaign promise to ban carriage horses. They rallied Tuesday near the mayor's Gracie Mansion home. (Aug. 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:
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