Sumary of Cell couriers deliver clue to cancer metastasis:
- A protein involved in making cells move offers a clue to how certain types of cancer metastasize and develop into secondary tumours, according to new research from the University of Warwick.
- Scientists from Warwick Medical School have demonstrated for the first time that levels of this protein can increase and decrease the movement of a cell, including cancer cells — suggesting that they could play a role in the spread of tumours.
- The researchers are investigating a tiny cell component called an Intracellular nanovesicle (INV) which acts like a courier within a cell by transporting cargo to where it is needed.
- When a cell moves, the INV moves a particle called an integrin from the cell’s surface to ‘unstick it’ from the surface it is attached to.
- INVs have a protein called Tumour Protein D54, increased levels of which have been associated with certain types of breast cancer and often a poor prognosis for the patient.
- These patients tend to have more metastases, where tumour cells spread to other parts of the body.
- To investigate TPD54’s role in cell movement, the Warwick team observed cells migrating on a surface coated with fibronectin, a type of extra-cellular matrix, using a live cell microscope.
- When they depleted the levels of the TPD54 protein, the scientists could see that the cells migrated less.