Molecular Medicine Israel

New Israeli study: Certain types of cancer cells found to grow tube-like extensions that may protect them from the physical stress of blood flow

Journal of Cellular Physiology 226, 3197–3207 (2011); doi: 10.1002/jcp.22680.
Ziv Porat, Itamar Yaron, Ben-Zion Katz, Zvi Kam and Benjamin Geiger.
“Shear flow-induced formation of tubular cell protrusions in multiple myeloma cells”.

Shaping up to cope with stress

The immediate environment surrounding cells in the body has a direct influence on the development of cell-related diseases and malignancy. In response, cells grow and act in various different ways in order to defend themselves from environmental damage.

Now, Benjamin Geiger and colleagues at the Weizmann Institute of Science and Tel Aviv University in Israel have shown that multiple myeloma (MM) cells undergo remarkable shape changes to cope with the shear stress experienced in the blood stream.

The researchers found that the MM cells develop a tube-like extension in the direction of flow, named a FLIP (flow-induced protrusion). The other end of the cell simultaneously retracts to form a squat base shape.

The cells appear to be able to alter their response according to the strength and duration of blood flow. Also, the MM cells can be split into two groups: cells that are more sensitive to flow develop slower and have longer lasting FLIPS, and those that are less sensitive to flow produce shorter-lasting FLIPS.

Further research is needed to clarify how the cells benefit from FLIPS. The protrusions may help stabilize the cells in the blood flow, or interact with other aspects of the microenvironment to form a malignant cell colony.

Article abstract

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