Some of the best scientific studies completed have been those that explore the amazing way the human body works. As technology advances, our knowledge increases at extraordinary levels. A study was done recently on cellular stress response, which is the ways our cells respond to things like cancer or viruses. The scientists had a good idea about what would happen, but they were pleasantly surprised at the actual result.
A day in the life of a protein in our body is filled with constant folding. If there is a hiccup in the process and a misfolding occurs, it can get very chaotic very quickly. The researchers wanted to see a cell’s exact response to such a mishap.
Similar studies were completed prior to this that looked at this process in pieces. This was the first time that the concept of a cellular stress response would be looked at as a whole.
A curious response
The researchers decided on the variables for the experiment. Human cancer cells were used and examined for hours and from different perspectives. Proteins made from genes happen in two steps- transcription and translation. Strange changes occurred in each step of the process, sometimes happening in both.
The cells responded to the misfolds by shutting one or both of the processes down. However, some cells completed one stage but not another. It got really odd as some cells rapidly continued to misfold, the complete opposite of what was expected.
Processing the results
Indeed the scientists were correct about something; some cells did shut down the misfolding process. However, the array of responses left researchers with puzzled looks on their faces. Could it be possible that our cells were prepping our bodies for any type of scenario?
Continued studies will hopefully give us more insight into these erratic responses. Clearly our systems know what they are doing, but a broader understanding could be beneficial to the future treatment of incurable diseases.