A protein that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and cancer is at the center of groundbreaking research by a team of Colorado State University scientists. The team found that the protein, called cofilin, regulates the forces that are essential, for example, for cells to migrate around the body.

The research appears this week in Developmental CELL journal.

Scientists have known that mutations to cofilin in mice create defects that lead to disease similar to those that affect humans; for example, where the nervous system doesn’t develop properly. They’ve also known that cofilin is responsible for assembling and dissembling F-actin, a polymer that provides the scaffolding that gives cells their shape.

But Colorado State scientists have now discovered a new behavior of cofilin that helps them understand more about how defects are created when cofilin is lost from cells: The protein helps regulate the forces generated by a class of molecular motors known as Myosin II, said O’Neil Wiggan, a research scientist and lead author on the paper. Other authors include biochemistry professors Jim Bamburg and Jennifer DeLuca and research associate Alisa Shaw.

Read the whole story: http://www.news.colostate.edu/Release/6123



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