Laboratory for Cell and Protein Regulation
Atsushi Yoshida, John Evans, James Dann, Gloria Evans, Volker Nock, Lynn Murray, Fahmi Samsuri, Kenny Chitcholtan.
Inset: Peter Sykes, Dianne Harker and Jeffrey Lee.
- Atsushi Yoshida
- Kenny Chitcholtan
- Volker Nock
- James Dann
- Gloria Evans
- Muthana Majid
- Lynn Murray *
- Siti Noorjannah *
- Fahmi Samsuri *
- Li Hui (Tiffany) Tan *
* These students are part of the collaboration with the School of Engineering, University of Canterbury and are co-supervised by Associate Professor Maan Alkaisi
- Jeffrey Lee
- Simon Hogg
The laboratory has projects in four main areas
- Gynaecological cancer
- Biomechanical forces and cell behaviour
- The receptive uterus (the Window of Implantation)
- Reproductive endocrinology
The development of endometrial and ovarian cancers are influenced by a number of factors including 3-D culture.
Our laboratory is investigating the regulation of peptides with the aim of introducing therapies that will inhibit tumour growth.
The pictures show that cells of different grades of endometrial cancers interact with each other in distinct ways. Low grade tumours (Ishikawa) form a lumen inside a cluster, whereas that does not occur in high grade tumours (EN-1078D). (Kenny Chitcholtan)
As part of this project we are investigating the links between cancer and diet. Compounds include epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) that is found in green tea, and 3,4′,5-trihydroxystilbene (which is also called ‘resveratrol’) that is found on the skins of grapes and berries and found in red wine.
(A) Green tea leaves and beverage which contain EGCG. Green tea is prepared without fermentation, unlike black tea.
(B) Grapes and red wine which contain resveratrol. White wine is usually made without the grape skin included and so has lower levels of resveratrol. (James Dann)
Biomechanical forces and Cell Behaviour
We are also investigating the behaviour of cells as they attach to surfaces, including other neighbouring cells in tissues. This is being undertaken in collaboration with the nanotechnology group, University of Canterbury, of the MacDiarmid Institute, a Centre of Research Excellence. Cell characteristics, which include morphology and gene expression, are dependent on the biomechanical forces that act on a cell.
Our group is in the unique and internationally advantageous position of being able to engineer an authentic topological environment for a cell by employing our Bioimprint technique in which biological cells are exactly replicated as a biocompatible polymer mould. Our group is investigating how characteristics of cancer cells are modulated by their physical environment.
LHS. Cells (dark red) were grown on surfaces that were imprinted moulds (visibly featured areas) of previous, non-confluent cultures. It is clear that the growing cells (blue arrows) prefer areas with the Bioimprint.
RHS Cells that grow on the Bioimprinted areas have a different morphology to those that grow between areas (yellow arrow). (Lynn Murray and Volker Nock)
The receptive uterus (the Window of Implantation)
In collaboration with the NZ Centre for Reproductive Medicine a study is being undertaken on gene expression in the uterus during the time of implantation. Differences in expression in the glandular epithelium, lumen and stroma have been established.
LHS: a heat map of RNA expression in the endometria of a group of women - there are clear differences between different types of cells that have been carefully separated by laser microdissection – the endometrium has specialised areas ready to accept a fertilised egg so a pregnancy can develop.
RHS: Two different proteins, one stained green, the other red, have distinctly different distributions in endometrial tissue. The nuclei are blue. (Gloria Evans)
The laboratory is a member of the Centre for Neuroendocrinology. Our focus in these collaborative studies is the pituitary gland and its relationship to the hypothalamus.
We have studied the control of gonadotrophins, LH and FSH, by peptides at the pituitary. Regulating LH and/or FSH using peptides could produce new methods of female, and perhaps male, contraception or for treating infertility. We hypothesise that there is a co-operative network of agents that modulates LH levels, and that several peptides (GnRH and others) have crucial, but distinct, roles at the pituitary.