Scientists help solve insulin puzzle
Effective communication, crucial to human relationships, is also essential for the destruction of cancer cells within the body.
In the body’s cells, communication involves the transmission of molecular or chemical signals. Just as a faulty antenna results in a garbled TV image, if these molecular signals are distorted, information is lost, and the outcomes can be catastrophic.
Researchers from the Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney and Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute have recently identified a cell communication pathway that controls cell growth and survival. The finding could eventually help to develop treatments for diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Central to the discovery was a powerful combination of cell biology (conducted by PhD students Alison Kearney and Dr Dougall Norris under the supervision of Dr James Burchfield and Professor David James, University of Sydney) and mathematical modelling (conducted by Milad Ghomlaghi under the supervision of Dr Lan Nguyen, Monash University).
“We were able to see the molecules involved in communication, and therefore, see when and where they are needed in the cell, and what happens when things go wrong,” Dr Burchfield said.
Dr Nguyen described the discovery as a “powerful regulator of the insulin signalling network”.