Study: Sugar helps control cell division

Sep 21, 2005

Johns Hopkins scientists in Baltimore say they've discovered a deceptively simple sugar is really a critical regulator of cells' natural life cycle.

Their research reveals that, when disturbed, the process could contribute to cancer or other diseases by failing to properly control cell division, the researchers say.

The sugar, known as O-GlcNAc, is used inside cells to modify proteins, thereby helping or preventing their interactions with other proteins and regulating their destruction. The sugar's effect on proteins seems to be important controllers of cell division, say the researchers.

"The dogma for decades has been that the cycle of cell division is controlled by the appearance and disappearance of certain proteins called cyclins. But experiments have shown that you can knock out any of these and still get perfectly normal cell division," says the study's first author, Chad Slawson, a postdoctoral fellow in biological chemistry. "In contrast, our experiments show that by increasing or decreasing the amount of sugar attached to proteins, the cell cycle is disrupted and isn't salvageable unless O-GlcNAc levels are fixed."

The study is detailed in the Sept. 23 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, available online now.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers discover low-grade nonwoven cotton picks up 50 times own weight of oil

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sugar mimics guide stem cells toward neural fate

Jul 30, 2014

Embryonic stem cells can develop into a multitude of cells types. Researchers would like to understand how to channel that development into the specific types of mature cells that make up the organs and other structures of ...

Recommended for you

Shrinking dinosaurs evolved into flying birds (w/ Video)

16 hours ago

A new study involving scientists from the University of Southampton has revealed how massive, meat-eating, ground-dwelling dinosaurs evolved into agile flying birds: they just kept shrinking and shrinking, ...

Congressional rift over environment influences public

20 hours ago

American citizens are increasingly divided over the issue of environmental protection and seem to be taking their cue primarily from Congress, finds new research led by a Michigan State University scholar.

Rural loss and ruin can be avoided

22 hours ago

An Australian Reconstruction Development Board needs to be established to help avoid more needless forcing of Australian farmers from their land, a QUT economist has said.

User comments : 0