June 16, 2024

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Residues from Cell Division Spread Cancer Gene Blueprint

Residues from Cell Division Spread Cancer Gene Blueprint

Residues from Cell Division Spread Cancer Gene Blueprint.

Researchers have discovered that residues left behind after cell division contain RNA, which, when absorbed by other cells, can propagate the blueprint of cancer genes.

This finding has opened new doors for cancer treatment by harnessing this mechanism. In the final stages of cell division or mitosis, a transient cellular “bridge” called the “midbody” connects two daughter cells, recruiting and positioning the mechanisms that will ultimately separate them.

Initially, researchers believed that midbodies, the remnants left after cell separation, would degrade immediately. However, recent research has found that midbody remnants are released and may promote the proliferation of tumor cells and stem cells. A new study led by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison delves into the content, organization, and behavior of midbodies to gain a better understanding of their role within the body.


Residues from Cell Division Spread Cancer Gene Blueprint



The study’s corresponding author, Ahna Skop, states, “People thought midbodies were places where cells go to die or recycle.” But one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Midbodies are small information packets that cells use to communicate.

They found that proteins produced by midbody RNA play a role in guiding the cell’s purposes, including differentiation (pluripotency) and the ability to form cancer tumors (tumorigenesis). This discovery suggests that midbodies act as carriers for cancer to spread within the body.

“The cell divides into three things: two cells and a midbody residue, a new signaling organelle,” says Skop. “What surprised us is that the midbody is chock-full of genetic information—RNA that doesn’t have much to do with cell division but likely plays a role in cell communication.”

Many midbody residues are absorbed by one of the daughter cells that played a vital role in their separation process. However, if they escape, another cell may absorb them and mistakenly start using midbody RNA as if it were its own blueprint.

“Midbody residues are very tiny,” Skop notes. “They’re just one micron in size, about a millionth of a meter. But they’re like little moon landers. They have everything needed to maintain the work of dividing cells. They can float away from the mitosis site, enter your bloodstream, and then land on another cell far away.”

Previous research suggests that cancer cells are more likely to accumulate midbodies compared to normal dividing cells and stem cells, which is associated with increased cell proliferation and tumor growth behavior.

Researchers also identified a gene called Arc, which is crucial for loading RNA into midbodies and midbody remnants. Arc is also associated with molecular processes related to learning and memory in the brain.

Skop says, “Loss of Arc leads to the loss of RNA in midbodies, preventing RNA information from reaching recipient cells. We believe this memory gene is essential for transmitting RNA information to all cells.”

Further research could leverage the power of midbody RNA to deliver drugs directly to cancer cells or prevent them from dividing. Skop concludes, “We believe our findings represent a significant target for cancer detection and treatment.”

This research was published in the journal “Developmental Cell.”



Residues from Cell Division Spread Cancer Gene Blueprint

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