November 29, 2010

Basic research is fundamental if we want to make strides in understanding disease. Please (politely) shout this from the mountaintops and make sure your lawmakers and funding agencies understand this. Today’s image is from a paper that investigates a key player in cell scattering, which is an event very similar to cancer metastasis.

Cell scattering is a term used to describe cell-cell dissociation and migration and occurs in liver development, organ regeneration, and metastasis. Cell scattering is induced by hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF1), and a recent paper describes similar cell scattering after a block to the protein α5β1 integrin, which is a receptor mediating the attachment of the cell to the surrounding extracellular matrix. In addition, blocking the function of this integrin triggers changes in expression of other proteins that mediate adhesion and migration. Image shows control (top) or integrin-blocked (bottom) liver progenitor cells. After a functional block to integrin function, cells are scattered and have decreased levels of E-cadherin (green), which is important in cell-cell adhesion of epithelial cells. Nuclei are in blue.

ResearchBlogging.orgVellón, L., Royo, F., Matthiesen, R., Torres-Fuenzalida, J., Lorenti, A., & Parada, L. (2010). Functional blockade of α5β1 integrin induces scattering and genomic landscape remodeling of hepatic progenitor cells BMC Cell Biology, 11 (1) DOI: 10.1186/1471-2121-11-81

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