Signaling Pathway Analysis

Signal transmission processes in the cell take place via numerous different signal cascades. Signaling molecules such as hormones and growth factors bind extracellularly to transmembrane receptors that conduct information into the cell. This takes place via activation (phosphorylation) of the intracellular domains of the receptor. The conduction of the signals into the nucleus of the cell takes place in the form of a cascade via phosphorylation of intracellular signaling proteins. Due to defective regulation of these transmission processes such as permanent activation of signaling proteins in the cell, for example, there can be uncontrolled proliferation of cells and thus the development of a tumor.

New technologies used for the analysis of the activation status of signaling proteins enable a detailed view into biological processes of tumor cells using only small amounts of tumor cells. Cryopreserved tissue samples whose phosphorylation status was fixed when the tissue was harvested via immediate transfer into liquid nitrogen are used for the analysis. The percentage of signaling proteins that are present in a phosphorylated state (including ERK, MERK, and AKT) is measured and is an expression of the activation status of the signaling pathway. For data interpretation, the results are correlated with data from control cells and comparative patient groups and evaluated.