Supported in Part by the Rita Allen Foundation, Researchers Discover New Protein Factor That Contributes to Cancer Cell Migration
UCLA researchers have discovered a new protein factor that contributes to a fibroblast cell’s ability to migrate to a wound and participate in its healing process. The study’s results could help scientists prevent cancer cells from using the same mechanisms to move throughout the body and spread.
In response to a wound, fibroblasts (cells found in connective tissues of the body), are activated to migrate toward the wound and spread, which contributes to the healing process. While non-dividing, quiescent fibroblasts are found in normal unwounded skin, when skin is wounded, molecular changes take place that give fibroblasts the ability to migrate toward the wound and heal it. Previous studies with microarrays have shown that proliferation and quiescence are associated with a major reprogramming of gene expression patterns. These gene expression changes are key for quiescent cells to reenter the cell cycle and molecular changes in response to a wound are important for the role of fibroblasts in healing. When genes are expressed, the mRNAs (or messenger molecules) that connect the genetic material in the DNA to proteins need to be processed from their initial to final form. Little was known about whether the processing of RNA molecules is important for cell migration.
To understand how fibroblast cells migrate, the UCLA researchers utilized high throughput RNA Sequencing, imaging, primary human cells isolated from skin, cancer cell lines, and mouse modeling...