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 April 16, 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 April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) Richard van As lost all fingers on his right hand in a woodworking accident. Now, he's used the incident to create a prosthetic to help hundreds. Video provided by Newsy
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