UCLA researchers have found that the extracellular matrix, the dense network of proteins and carbohydrates that surround a cell, can influence how cells move within the body by regulating their sugar consumption. The study shows that acute changes in a single component of the extracellular matrix can trigger a very rapid change in the metabolism and migration of the cell.
Given its importance in the growth and migration in cancer cells, scientists have intensely studied how glucose metabolism can be regulated in response to a variety of both internal and external cues. But little research has focused on the relationship between metabolism and changes in specific components of the extracellular matrix, which occur both during normal development and in disease progression.
“Our study is different from past studies in that it’s showing that acute changes to one component of the extracellular matrix can trigger a very rapid change in the metabolism of the cell,” said BJ Sullivan, the study’s lead author and graduate student in the lab of Heather Christofk, an associate professor in biological chemistry and molecular and medical pharmacology and director of basic and translational research at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
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