Feedback loop maintains basal cell population

Nov 01, 2012

Notch – the protein that can help determine cell fate – maintains a stable population of basal cells in the prostate through a positive feedback loop system with another key protein – TGF beta (transforming growth factor beta), said Baylor College of Medicine researchers in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

"When basal cell homeostasis (or maintenance of a stable population) is disrupted, it may be part of the process that initiates prostate cancer," said Dr. Li Xin, assistant professor of at BCM and a senior author of the report.

"Notch signaling takes different functions in different ," he said. "For example, Notch can suppress proliferation of basal cells and enhance it in luminal cells (another population of cells in the prostate)."

In studies in mice, Xin and his colleagues found that disrupting the Notch signal did not have much effect on the basal cells. However, when they disrupted both Notch and TGF beta signal, the basal cells begin to proliferate a lot," he said.

Notch is one of the important parts of the process by which basal cells sense the signals from TGF beta, said Xin.

While it might be tempting to suppress Notch signaling in an effort to prevent prostate cancer, it is probably not the best course. Systemic long-term inhibition of Notch can be toxic to intestines and result in .

"Once the important layer of basal cells is laid down in the prostate, the Notch-TGF beta feedback loop keeps the homeostasis of basal cells in the adult mouse prostate," said Xin.

"The disruption of this layer of may play a critical role in the initiation of prostate cancer," said Xin.

Explore further: Fighting bacteria—with viruses

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Therapy may block expansion of breast cancer cells

Nov 05, 2008

Breast cancer stem cells are known to be involved in therapy resistance and the recurrence of cancerous tumors. A new study appearing in Clinical and Translational Science shows the mechanisms governing stem cell expansion in bre ...

Recommended for you

Fighting bacteria—with viruses

19 hours ago

Research published today in PLOS Pathogens reveals how viruses called bacteriophages destroy the bacterium Clostridium difficile (C. diff), which is becoming a serious problem in hospitals and healthcare institutes, due to its re ...

Atomic structure of key muscle component revealed

20 hours ago

Actin is the most abundant protein in the body, and when you look more closely at its fundamental role in life, it's easy to see why. It is the basis of most movement in the body, and all cells and components ...

Brand new technology detects probiotic organisms in food

Jul 23, 2014

In the food industr, ity is very important to ensure the quality and safety of products consumed by the population to improve their properties and reduce foodborne illness. Therefore, a team of Mexican researchers ...

Protein evolution follows a modular principle

Jul 23, 2014

Proteins impart shape and stability to cells, drive metabolic processes and transmit signals. To perform these manifold tasks, they fold into complex three-dimensional shapes. Scientists at the Max Planck ...

Report on viruses looks beyond disease

Jul 22, 2014

In contrast to their negative reputation as disease causing agents, some viruses can perform crucial biological and evolutionary functions that help to shape the world we live in today, according to a new report by the American ...

User comments : 0