Work carried out in the Näthke lab, recently published in Molecular Biology of the Cell, has illustrated that proliferative fate and cell cycle duration in the intestine is set by the Wnt stimulus cells experience when they are ‘born’. Using mathematical modeling together with high-resolution tissue imaging data, they also showed that the threshold for this response is lowered in transformed cells, before overt, histologically detectable tissue changes occur.
When and how cells decide to proliferate is not only important in normal growth and development but also in cancer. Understanding how these decisions are made and how they are modified in disease is important for earlier detection and for treatment. These new results provide an explanation for the expanded proliferative zone that is detectable prior to adenoma formation in the intestine and may be a useful biomarker for precancerous conditions.
Publication reference: Dunn et al. Mol. Biol. Cell April 6, 2016 mbc.E15-12-0854