How Cancer Cells Stiff-Arm Normal Environmental Cues to Consume Energy

How Cancer Cells Stiff-Arm Normal Environmental Cues to Consume Energy

Using human lung
cancer cells, UT Southwestern researchers have uncovered how cells in general
modulate their energy consumption based on their surroundings and, furthermore,
how cancer cells override those cues to maximize energy use. The findings,
published this week in Nature, extend a report from last year in which the
same group discovered that the cell's skeleton can promote cancer cell growth
in metastasis or when under chemotherapy assault.

"Cancer cells
experience variable mechanical conditions during tumor growth and spread, so we
wondered whether the mechanical conditions also affect glycolysis - the cell's
energy use. Enhanced glycolysis is a hallmark of cancer," says Gaudenz
Danuser, Ph.D., a professor of cell biology and chair of the Lyda Hill
Department of Bioinformatics.

The mechanics of the
microenvironment of the cell impact cell functions like growth, survival,
death, and changes in cell shape, says Danuser. All of these behaviors require
energy, but Danuser says it has never been studied how cells might change their
energy use based on their microenvironment.

A Study of Experiments

Cells can sense the
stiffness of the tissues/materials around t...

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