Team gets a closer look at how proteins meet on the cell membrane
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IMAGE: These are fluorescent images of cells expressing talin mutants. view more 

Credit: Izard laboratory, Scripps Research

JUPITER, FL – Oct. 10, 2018 – Scripps Research scientists have uncovered the workings of a critical process in cell survival. Their study, published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to show exactly how a protein called talin activates another critical protein, called integrin, to do its job on the cell membrane.

While the researchers focused on basic cell biology, the findings suggest targeting a protein like talin to interfere with this activation process, giving scientists a potential way to tackle cancer cells.

The research was led by the laboratory of Tina Izard, PhD, professor on Scripps Research’s Florida campus. The laboratory focuses on understanding the structures and functions of proteins involved in a process called cell adhesion. Without these proteins, cells could not send signals or react to the surrounding environment–cells simply could not function effectively.

A key protein cell adhesion is protein integrin, which is involved in certain cancers and even bleeding disorders. “Integrin activation is a fundamental process in cell biology that also goes awry in important pathological states,” says Izard. “Integrins

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