Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protein that keeps people, skeletons organized

Date:
November 14, 2013
Source:
University of Southern California - Health Sciences
Summary:
Most people think that their planners or their iPhones keep them organized, when in fact, proteins such as liver kinase b1 actually have a lot more to do with it. New research sheds light on how this important protein keeps people organized on a basic level by promoting orderly skeletal growth and preventing skeletal tumors.

Mouse femur with an enchondroma-like structure.
Credit: Lick Lai

Most people think that their planners or their iPhones keep them organized, when proteins such as liver kinase b1 (Lkb1) actually have a lot more to do with it. New research from postdoctoral fellow Lick Lai in the lab of USC scientist Andy McMahon published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) sheds light on how this important protein keeps people organized on a basic level by promoting orderly skeletal growth and preventing skeletal tumors.

In a developing embryo, many bones form based on cartilage templates. The study found that to form these templates, Lkb1 protein controls the progression of immature, dividing cartilage cells into larger, mature and fully differentiated cartilage cells. Without Lkb1, the population of immature cartilage cells disproportionately increases, leading to skeletal tumors.

The way that Lkb1 controls the differentiation of cartilage cells is by suppressing what's known as the "mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway" -- a very important complex of molecules that coordinates growth in response to available nutrients and other factors. Problems with the mTOR pathway have been implicated in a host of human diseases, including diabetes, obesity, depression and many cancers.

The influence of abnormal Lkb1 isn't restricted to the skeleton, however. Mutant forms of Lkb1 are frequently present in patients with lung, cervical, breast, intestinal, testicular, pancreatic and skin cancers, and in patients with the Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, characterized by benign polyps in the gastrointestinal tract.

"By understanding Lkb1 and the mechanisms that control normal skeletal development, we also learn how we might prevent this development from going awry in cancers and other disorders," said McMahon, who directs the USC Stem Cell initiative and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southern California - Health Sciences. The original article was written by Cristy Lytal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. L. P. Lai, B. N. Lilley, J. R. Sanes, A. P. McMahon. Lkb1/Stk11 regulation of mTOR signaling controls the transition of chondrocyte fates and suppresses skeletal tumor formation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1309001110

Cite This Page:

University of Southern California - Health Sciences. "Protein that keeps people, skeletons organized." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131114094947.htm>.
University of Southern California - Health Sciences. (2013, November 14). Protein that keeps people, skeletons organized. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131114094947.htm
University of Southern California - Health Sciences. "Protein that keeps people, skeletons organized." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131114094947.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) 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