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Cell signalling pathway discovery shines light on skin cancer

September 18, 2015

Researchers at the University of Queensland have discovered a new signalling pathway that controls cell adhesion. Adhesion is an important process that is disrupted in diseases such as skin cancer and inflammation.

Dr Rashmi Priya from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) said that the research clarifies the role of the protein myosin in tissue integrity.

“Myosin is found at cell adhesion points and we know it plays a necessary role in regulating how cells stick together to form coherent tissues,” she said.

The research has shown that myosin protects a signalling molecule called Rho, which is an important switch that stabilizes adherence points between cells. When Rho is disrupted it causes a loss of cell adhesion and tissue integrity, which can lead to cancer and inflammation.

The researchers said that the Australian Cancer Research Foundation Cancer Biology Imaging Facility at IMB played a vital role in this research. The Facility is one of the largest and most comprehensively equipped facilities in Australia for both the imaging and screening of chemical and biological libraries.

The research was published this week in Nature Cell Biology.

The original news item was posted on 15 September 2015 on the IMB website.

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