A study led by IBEC researchers, and published in Nature Cell Biology, shows that applying mechanical force to the cell nucleus affects the transport of proteins across the nuclear membrane. In doing so, this controls cellular processes and could play a key role in various diseases, such as cancer. This entails a novel approach to understanding aspects of cancer invasion and metastasis, opening the door to potential new techniques for diagnosis and therapy.
A team of researchers at IBEC and UPC, led by Pere Roca-Cusachs and Marino Arroyo, study how BAR proteins, a family of molecules that bind curved cellular membranes, reshape these membranes. Scientists report in the journal Nature Communications, through both experiments and modelling, the dynamics of these membrane reshaping processes that occur both in normal cells or disease scenarios.
IBEC researchers Elena Martínez, Xavier Trepat and Pere Roca-Cusachs aim to understand the processes that promote metastasis in colorectal cancer using innovative bioengineering tools, such as bioprinting and microscopy capable of revealing forces at the cellular level.
The results will be translated into a device that will recreate the tumor environment from cancer cells derived from patients, as well as a new technology that will allow to visualize how physical forces affect the nuclei of metastatic cells.
Pere Roca-Cusachs, group leader at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and associate professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Barcelona (UB), has been chosen to join the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) , a prestigious network that brings together some of the most brilliant researchers in the world.
Roca-Cusachs is a pioneer in Europe in the mechanobiology field and in the study of how physical forces affect diseases such as cancer.