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 July 31, 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 July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
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