Control of cell movement with light accomplished in living organisms

May 16, 2010

A precise understanding of cellular growth and movement is the key to developing new treatments for cancer and other disorders caused by dysfunctional cell behavior. Recent breakthroughs in genetic medicine have uncovered how genes control whether cellular proteins are turned 'on' or 'off' at the molecular level, but much remains to be understood about how protein signaling influences cell behavior.

A technique developed in the laboratory of Klaus Hahn, PhD, the Thurman Professor of Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, uses light to manipulate the activity of a at precise times and places within a living cell, providing a new tool for scientists who study the fundamentals of protein function.

In a paper published today in the journal , a team led by Denise Montell, PhD, of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, describes how researchers used the technique, which controls protein behavior in cells and animals simply by shining a focused beam of light on the cells where they want the protein to be active, in live fruit flies.

"This finding complements an additional collaboration with Anna Huttenlocher, PhD of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, published earlier this year in the journal Developmental Cell, showing that this technique could be used to control cell movement in live zebrafish as well," said Hahn.

"We have now shown that this technique works in two different , providing proof of principle that light can be used to activate a key protein. In this case the protein controls cell movement, enabling us to move cells about in animals. This is particularly valuable in studies where cell movement is the focus of the research, including , nerve regeneration and cancer metastasis. Now researchers can control where and where particular proteins are activated in animals, providing a heretofore inaccessible level of control," said Hahn.

The new technology is an advance over previous light-directed methods of cellular control that used toxic wavelengths of light, disrupted the cell membrane or could switch proteins 'on' but not 'off'. Unlike some approaches it requires no injection of cofactors or other unnatural materials into the animals being studied.

Explore further: Healthy humans make nice homes for viruses

Related Stories

Breakthrough uses light to manipulate cell movement

Aug 19, 2009

One of the biggest challenges in scientists' quest to develop new and better treatments for cancer is gaining a better understanding of how and why cancer spreads. Recent breakthroughs have uncovered how ...

Researchers use light to coax cells to move

Mar 30, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Suppose you could get immune cells to move just where you wanted them to in the body - to fight infection or kill a tumor? It may sound like science fiction or magic, but it's not.

Yale scientists map cell signaling network

Nov 30, 2005

Yale University scientists have mapped, for the first time, the proteins and kinase signaling network that control how cells of higher organisms operate.

Discovery of a mechanism that regulates cell movement

Jul 20, 2008

A study performed by researchers at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), in collaboration with researchers at the Instituto de Biología Molecular of the CSIC, reveal a mechanism that controls the movement ...

Recommended for you

Stem cells use 'first aid kits' to repair damage

38 minutes ago

Stem cells hold great promise as a means of repairing cells in conditions such as multiple sclerosis, stroke or injuries of the spinal cord because they have the ability to develop into almost any cell type. ...

Healthy humans make nice homes for viruses

Sep 16, 2014

The same viruses that make us sick can take up residence in and on the human body without provoking a sneeze, cough or other troublesome symptom, according to new research at Washington University School ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

VEERUNCLE
1 / 5 (1) May 16, 2010
Greetings`

The chemical happenings at a quantum state at large all over macrocosm unto all of microcosm is postulated as Cosmic Tithonicity - explicating the interminable inter-activity ensued by chemical by dint of harvesting properties and dynamics-mechanism of LIGHT through a process ‘absorption, excitation & emission’ rendering progressive changes to establish fundamental happenings at the ‘quark-gluon plasma state’ defining quantum creative act within every atom unto all of happenings in the cellular/genomic world.

Wherefore the Light or its components ‘colours’ -which configures light- is indeed an elixir, a beatitude in all sort of concern for well-being for physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspect of every livingfulness behind living a healthy and blessed life. This subject is postulated as ‘Cosmic Efficacy & Tithonicity’ in domain of Astral Science dealing with Para-physics and omnijectivism.

Thanks & Regards

CHARANJEET SINGH LAMBA
astral scientist : gnosiologist