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New research reveals proteins that affect cell migration

EU scientists have identified three proteins that play a key role in lymphocyte migration. Elucidating their function may ultimately aid in the identification of novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.
New research reveals proteins that affect cell migration
Within the NEUROTCELL (Investigation of the role of novel neuronal proteins in T lymphocyte migration) project, scientists investigated the role of synaptopodin (SYNPO), spectrin beta-1 (SPTBN1) and neurofilaments heavy polypeptide (NEFH) in T cell polarisation and migration. These are cytoskeletal and associated proteins responsible for actin-based cell shape, motility and cell integrity in neurons.

The team analysed the subcellular localisation of these three proteins in relation to the actin and microtubule components of the cytoskeleton. In addition, it studied a number of candidate proteins involved in T cell migration that also display polarised phenotype in migrating cells.

Using the siRNA approach, scientists knocked down the expression of SYNPO, SPTBN1 and NEFH and investigated their function in the regulation of cell polarity, actin capping, live cell migration, transmigration and cell adhesion.

Studies demonstrated that loss of expression of these proteins is associated with a change in migratory properties, in particular speed and persistence. Results suggest that this is due to the role in driving and maintaining cell polarity and regulation of actin capping.

NEUROTCELL demonstrated that SYNPO, SPTBN1 and NEFH play a key role in lymphocyte migration. Further elucidation of their function should help combat inflammatory diseases (including autoimmune such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel diseases) that pose a huge risk to the health of European citizens.

Related information


Lymphocyte migration, inflammatory diseases, NEUROTCELL, synaptopodin, spectrin beta-1, T cell
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