Study Reveals Importance Of Timing For Cellular Signals, Suggests Possible Tactic For Cancer Therapeutics
Magic tricks work because they take advantage of the brain’s sensory assumptions, tricking audiences into seeing phantoms or overlooking sleights of hand. Now a team of UC San Francisco researchers has discovered that even brainless single-celled yeast have sensory biases that can be hacked by a carefully engineered illusion, a finding that could be used to develop new approaches to fighting diseases such as cancer.
“The ability to perceive and respond to the environment is a basic attribute of all living organisms, from the greatest to the smallest,” said Wendell Lim, PhD, the study’s senior author. “And so is the susceptibility to misperception. It doesn’t matter if the illusion is based on molecular sensors within a single cell or neurons in the brain.”
In the new study, published online Nov. 19, 2015 in Science Express, Lim and his team discovered that yeast cells falsely perceive a specifically timed pattern of stress – caused by alternating between low and mildly increased sodium levels – as a massive, continuously increasing ramp of stress. In response, the microbes end up over-responding and killing themselves. The results, Lim says, suggest a whole new way of looking at the perceptual abilities of simple cells and could even be used to develop new approaches to fighting diseases using the power of illusion.
Timing of stress response is yeast cells’ ‘Achilles heel’
“This discovery was a bit of an accident actually,” said Lim, chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UCSF, director of the UCSF Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator. “We were interested in the general issue of how cells interpret information over time. Frequency is a key aspect of all our communications, whether it’s hearing language or transmitting radio signals, but do cells themselves use this kind of information? It’s something we don’t know much about.”
To explore this question, two postdoctoral fellows in Lim’s lab, Ping Wei, PhD, now at Peking University School of Life Sciences, and Amir Mitchell, PhD, set up a system that allowed them to expose yeast to a mild stressor – a small increase in salt in the yeast’s environment – and to oscillate between the increased salt level and the baseline level at different frequencies.
Normally, sensor molecules in a yeast cell detect changes in salt concentration and instruct the cell to respond by producing a protective chemical. After this transient response, the cell can resume growing happily as if conditions had not changed. The researchers found that the cells were perfectly capable of adapting when they flipped the salt stress on and off every minute or every 32 minutes. But to their surprise, when they tried an eight-minute oscillation of precisely the same salt level the cells quickly stopped growing and began to die off.
“That was just a jaw-dropping moment,” said Mitchell. “These cells should be able to handle this level of osmotic stress, but at one particular frequency they just go haywire. We’d never seen anything like this before.”
Could sensory illusions be used to fight cancer?
Mitchell, who was first author on the new study, went on to inspect the cellular mechanism underlying this unexpected, frequency-dependent toxicity. Using mathematical modeling and experiments in which he tweaked the molecular wiring of the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway that mediates the cells’ salt-sensing system, he revealed a sensory misperception: Because of the way the MAPK pathway is set up, the cells interpret an eight-minute oscillation as an ever-increasing staircase of salt concentration. This leads to excessive activation of the cells’ protective response, and ultimately to their death (see Movie).
The Latest on: Cancer Therapeutics
[google_news title=”” keyword=”Cancer Therapeutics” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Cancer Therapeutics
- Enveric Biosciences to sell cancer-targeting intellectual propertyon February 23, 2024 at 8:31 am
Enveric Biosciences specializes in development of novel neuroplastogenic small-molecule therapeutics for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and addiction disorders.
- Prostate Cancer Therapeutics Market To Reach USD 28.5 Billion By 2032 Report By DataHorizzon Researchon February 23, 2024 at 4:30 am
The current market is experiencing an upsurge in growth, which can be attributed to the successful implementation of advanced techniques for developing new cures and treatments.Fort Collins, Colorado, ...
- Strong Financials and Promising Drug Pipeline Bolster Buy Rating for C4 Therapeuticson February 22, 2024 at 10:40 pm
C4 Therapeutics Inc is a bio-pharmaceutical company. The company is focused on harnessing the body’s natural regulation of protein levels to develop novel therapeutic candidates to eliminate ...
- Natural killer cells lead the charge in cancer treatment innovationon February 22, 2024 at 7:50 pm
Review synthesizes research on NK cells' role in cancer immunity and their potential in therapeutics through bioengineering, immune checkpoint inhibitors, and cell engagers, highlighting ongoing ...
- Getting Newly Approved Cancer Drugs May ‘Take a Village,’ Experts Sayon February 22, 2024 at 4:01 pm
For patients with bladder cancer, being prescribed certain drugs may “take ... “Each institution has a pharmacy and therapeutics committee that has to approve that that drug is being used. So multiple ...
- Relay Therapeutics Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2023 Financial Results and Corporate Highlightson February 22, 2024 at 2:05 pm
Completed enrollment in initial RLY-2608 600mg + fulvestrant dose expansion cohort & initiated additional dose expansion cohorts with ...
- What's Going On With Cancer-Focused Monopar Therapeutics Stock Today?on February 22, 2024 at 10:02 am
Monopar Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:MNPR) shares jumped during the trading session on Thursday on a strong volume session volume of 16.179 million, compared to an average volume of 1.817 million, as per ...
- Kazia stops paxalisib brain cancer trial early on promising dataon February 21, 2024 at 4:00 pm
Kazia Therapeutics Ltd. stopped its two-part paxalisib plus radiotherapy phase I trial early based on positive safety and promising clinical responses in patients with phosphoinositide 3-kinase ...
- What's Going With Australia-Based Cancer Firm Kazia Therapeutics On Wednesday?on February 21, 2024 at 10:58 am
Kazia Therapeutics Limited (NASDAQ:KZIA) announced the early conclusion based on safety and clinical response findings observed to date of an important two-part Phase 1 trial. During market trading, ...
- Small Cell Lung Cancer Therapeutics Market Forecast to Reach $10.87 Billion by 2028 Amid Advances in Early Detection and Treatmenton February 19, 2024 at 1:37 am
Dublin, Feb. 19, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The "Small Cell Lung Cancer Therapeutics Global Market Report 2024" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering. Growth in Small Cell Lung ...
via Bing News