Tag Archives: cell death

Vitamin D, Omega-3 May Help Clear Amyloid Plaques Found in Alzheimer’s

A team of academic researchers has pinpointed how vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids may enhance the immune system’s ability to clear the brain of amyloid plaques, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.

In a small pilot study published in the Feb. 5 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the scientists identified key genes and signaling networks regulated by vitamin D3 and the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) that may help control inflammation and improve plaque clearance. (more…)

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UMass Amherst Cell Biologists Show Molecular Forces Are Key to Proper Cell Division

AMHERST, Mass. – Studies led by cell biologist Thomas Maresca at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are revealing new details about a molecular surveillance system that helps detect and correct errors in cell division that can lead to cell death or human diseases. Findings are reported in the current issue of the Journal of Cell Biology.

The purpose of cell division is to evenly distribute the genome between two daughter cells. To achieve this, every chromosome must properly interact with a football-shaped structure called the spindle. However, interaction errors between the chromosomes and spindle during division are amazingly common, occurring in 86 to 90 percent of chromosomes, says Maresca, an expert in mitosis. (more…)

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Protein Strongest Just Before Death

Researchers at Michigan State University have discovered a protein that does its best work with one foot in the grave.

The study, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, focuses on the nontraditional lifestyle of Retinoblastoma tumor suppressor proteins, which could lead to new ways to treat cancer.

“Retinoblastoma proteins are unique in that they use controlled destruction to do their jobs in a timely but restrained fashion,” said Liang Zhang, a lead author and MSU cell and molecular biology graduate student. “This is an unusual way for proteins to act.” (more…)

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Common Food Preservative May Slow, Even Stop Tumor Growth

ANN ARBOR — Nisin, a common food preservative, may slow or stop squamous cell head and neck cancers, a University of Michigan study found.

What makes this particularly good news is that the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization approved nisin as safe for human consumption decades ago, says Yvonne Kapila, the study’s principal investigator and professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. (more…)

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Molecular Spectroscopy Tracks Living Mammalian Cells in Real Time as They Differentiate

Berkeley Lab scientists demonstrate the promise of synchrotron infrared spectroscopy of living cells for medical applications

Knowing how a living cell works means knowing how the chemistry inside the cell changes as the functions of the cell change. Protein phosphorylation, for example, controls everything from cell proliferation to differentiation to metabolism to signaling, and even programmed cell death (apoptosis), in cells from bacteria to humans. It’s a chemical process that has long been intensively studied, not least in hopes of treating or eliminating a wide range of diseases. But until now the close-up view – watching phosphorylation work at the molecular level as individual cells change over time – has been impossible without damaging the cells or interfering with the very processes that are being examined.

“To look into phosphorylation, researchers have labeled specific phosphorylated proteins with antibodies that carry fluorescent dyes,” says Hoi-Ying Holman of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). “That gives you a great image, but you have to know exactly what to label before you can even begin.” (more…)

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Targeting Protein Critical To Cell Division Stops Cancer Cells From Proliferating And Kills Them

Suppressing a newly identified protein involved in regulating cell division could be a novel strategy for fighting certain cancers because it stops the malignant cells from dividing and causes them to die quickly, according to a study by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

During the five-year study, designed to seek new targets for anti-cancer therapies, researchers discovered that depleting the protein, called STARD9, also helped the commonly used chemotherapy drug Taxol work more effectively against certain cancers. (more…)

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U-M Researchers Identify Protein Essential for Cell Division in Blood-forming Stem Cells

ANN ARBOR, Mich.— University of Michigan researchers have discovered that a protein known to regulate cellular metabolism is also necessary for normal cell division in blood-forming stem cells. Loss of the protein results in an abnormal number of chromosomes and a high rate of cell death. 

The finding demonstrates that stem cells are metabolically different from other blood-forming cells, which can divide without the protein, Lkb1. This metabolic difference could someday be used to better control the behavior of blood-forming stem cells used in disease treatments, said Sean Morrison, director of the U-M Center for Stem Cell Biology, which is based at the Life Sciences Institute.  (more…)

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