Cell biologists at Scripps Research’s Florida campus developed the mechanism of a critical process in cell survival by producing a protein like molecule to interface with the activation process.
Researchers studying cell biology uncovered the mechanism of an important cell survival process. Their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on September 25, 2018. The study is a first of its kind, which highlights the working of talin, a protein that activates another critical protein, integrin, to regulate the cell membrane development.
The researchers focused their attention on the proteins that was used during cell adhesion process. They studied the structure and function of these proteins minutely to understand the working of the cell. They observed that without the presence of proteins, cells were unable to send signals or react with its surrounding environment.
Tina Izard, Ph.D., professor at Scripps Research’s Floridaand lead researcher of the study, says, “Integrin activation is a fundamental process in cell biology that also goes awry in important pathological state, it play key roles in cancer progression and metastasis where certain tumor types exhibit higher levels of certain integrins.”
Previously, studies conducted on cell biology found that talin interacted with the cell membrane to activate integrin, although the detailed molecular mechanisms were unknown. “It is especially important to understand talin’s role because talin “glues” integrin to the cytoskeleton within the cells. By gluing together multiple players, talin brings stability to the cell and helps with functions like cell migration and differentiation,” said Researcher Rangarajan Erumbi, Ph.D., staff scientist at Scripps Research and co-author of the study. The findings will provide scientists a potential way to tackle cancer cells, according to the researchers.