Pioneering new research into the way in which cells communicate with each other could hold the key to unlocking new, improved treatment for life-threatening diseases, including cancer.
Various mechanisms exist for cells to communicate with each other, and many are essential for development. A team of international researchers looked at how one important family of signaling molecules – Wnt proteins, which orchestrate and control many cell development processes – are transported between cells.
Accurate transmission of Wnt signals is therefore incredibly important; however, the mechanism for this was previously unknown. It was discovered that cell protrusions called cytonemes. play an essential role in transmitting the signal to control the rate of cell division.