September 27, 2010
Novel Mechanism Discovered For Communication Between Proteins That Cause “˜Cell Suicide’
A recent study undertaken by investigators at five research centres, amongst which is the CSIC-University of the Basque Country Biophysics Unit, provides new clues for the understanding of the "Ëcell suicide' process. The research was published in the latest issue of the prestigious Cell journal.
Our bodies daily eliminate in a controlled manner more than 100 million defective cells, by means of a procedure known as "Ëcell suicide' or apoptosis. This is a highly complicated process, any imbalances thus arising causing serious diseases, prominent amongst which is cancer. Over the past two decades it has been possible to identify various cellular components involved in apoptosis. Nevertheless, there are still important unresolved questions about the functioning of certain key elements in this great cell riddle. This study has revealed that three essential components of the apoptotic process, the BAX and DRP-1 proteins and cardiolipin, act in a joint manner to produce a large hole in the external membrane of the mitochondria, proving to be lethal for the cell.
Taking part in this research, led by Professor Jean-Claude Martinou of the Department of Cell Biology at the University of Geneva (Switzerland), were, apart from the CSIC-UPV/EHU Biophysics Unit, the universities of Salzburg (Germany), Hanover (Germany) and Florida (USA).
On the Net: