Aussie researchers shed light on secret life of cell growth

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, June 22, 2022
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SYDNEY, June 22 (Xinhua) -- An international team including researchers from Australia's University of Sydney have uncovered what they have described as "yo-yo-like" patterns of cell growth, which could further the understanding of disease and the human body.

The study, published in the Nature Communications journal and revealed to the public on Wednesday, used a nanotechnology process called "inertial picobalance", a method discovered by University of Sydney physicist and co-lead on the research David Martinez-Martin.

Inertial picobalance allows the measurement of cell mass in real time, and can be used to enhance the understanding of cell physiology.

"We have uncovered processes that challenge models in biology that have been central for decades," said Martinez-Martin.

Using the technology, the researchers found that rather than growing linearly or exponentially in size as conventionally understood, yeast cells' growth would oscillate with intervals of faster and slower growth - leading to the "yo-yo" description.

Martinez-Martin said because the yeast cells mirror genes in animal cells and understanding cells was the key to understanding disease, the research would help build towards novel treatments for disease.

"The behaviors we have identified in cells (will help in) paving the way to better understand how they can accurately form and reform complex structures such as the eyes, brain and fingers in our bodies."

Martinez-Martin said that fluctuations in cell mass may be a process by which cells regulate functions such as metabolism, gene expression, proliferation and cell death. The team's modeling also suggests it may be a method by which cells signal to one another and exchange water and molecules.

"Therefore, it could be incredibly important, because it could allow cells to identify and serve their distinct role and purpose in the body," he added.

The researchers believe that the findings would open up new avenues for next generation treatments for a range of diseases including cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Enditem

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