The cells that line our respiratory and digestive tracts are primed and ready for action in the event of injury. A report in this week's Nature (Vol. 422, No. 6929, 20 March 2003, pp. 322-326) shows how an inbuilt self-repair mechanism ensures that no time is wasted in patching up damage. Just a single layer of cells, called the epithelium, separates our insides from the outside world. This fragile barrier is easily damaged and vulnerable to infection. Epithelial cells produce two proteins, erbB2 and heregulin, physically separated on opposite sides of the cell, find Michael J. Welsh of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Iowa, and colleagues. When a cell is damaged, the physical barrier breaks down and the proteins can activate each other, stimulating cell division and promoting quick, efficient repair. Disruption to this system may cause airway diseases like cystic fibrosis and asthma.
"This mechanism, which allows epithelial cells to stand poised to promote their own healing, is conceptually so simple that one wonders why no one had described it before," write Keith Mostov and Mirjam Zegers of the University of California at San Francisco in an accompanying News and Views article.
Michael J. Welsh
Tel: +1 319 335 7619
Tel: +1 415 476 6048
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
Bookmark and Share this page (what is this?)
Social bookmarking allows users to save and categorise a personal collection of bookmarks and share them with others. This is different to using your own browser bookmarks which are available using the menus within your web browser.
Use the links below to share this article on the social bookmarking site of your choice.
Read more about social bookmarking at Wikipedia - Social Bookmarking
Variants Associated with Pediatric Allergic Disorder
Mutations in PHF6 Found in T-Cell Leukemia
Genetic Risk Variant for Urinary Bladder Cancer
Antibody Has Therapeutic Effect on Mice with ALS
Regulating P53 Activity in Cancer Cells
Anti-RNA Therapy Counters Breast Cancer Spread
Mitochondrial DNA Diversity
The Power of RNA Sequencing
‘Pro-Ageing' Therapy for Cancer?
Niche Genetics Influence Leukaemia
Molecular Biology: Clinical Promise for RNA Interference
Chemoprevention Cocktail for Colon Cancer
more news ...