22 Dicembre 2020

Two proteins driving the cell ‘quality control’ discovered

A new pathway discovered at the CIBIO Department of the University of Trento and published in the EMBO Journal detects anomalies in cell division: this could help to understand cell errors leading to the development of tumors

A new research identifies the ‘quality control’ of cells - the molecular mechanism that blocks and induces suicide in cells that have not divided correctly. When mitosis (the cell division) fails, irreparable errors often occur. This can in turn affect the normal development of the cell. In these cases, our body intervenes by preventing the damaged cells from replicating. This is one of the mechanisms used by our body to correct errors before they overproliferate. Sometimes, however, this mechanism fails and the damaged cells spread, leading to tumors.  But who is sounding the alarm? Using advanced microscopy techniques, the research team led by Luca Fava, professor and team leader of the Armenise Harvard Laboratory of Cell Division at the CIBIO Department of the University of Trento, has identified the two proteins ANKRD26 and PIDD1 sending the signal to stop the proliferation of dysfunctional cells. The discovery was published in the EMBO Journal. 
“The interaction of these two proteins generates the signal that blocks cell division or even induces cell suicide" - Luca Fava explains - "When ANKRD26 and PIDD1 misdirect the signal, however, the chain of events that can lead to centrosome amplification and tumor development can occur. Therefore, the next step will be to understand how these signals are rewired in cancer cells, where this mechanism is compromised.”
"The fascination of this research" - adds Matteo Burigotto, PhD student and first author of the paper - "was appreciating how turning off a previously unknown switch dramatically changes the behavior of cells under the microscope, leading them to an uncontrolled proliferation."
These studies, which were recently funded by the AIRC Foundation for Cancer Research, could set the corner stone for devising new personalized medicine approaches to directly impact on the signals leading to centrosome amplification and fight cancer development.