Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Salk news: Understanding organ placement

09.01.2004


Salk study uncovers new information about organ placement



A Salk Institute team of biologists, mathematicians, and physicists has uncovered a novel paradigm for cell communication that provides new insights into the complex question of how the body determines where organs are placed.

The study focused on a fundamental question: how the body tells left from right. Although humans look fairly symmetric on the outside, their inner organs are placed quite asymmetrically; for example, the heart points to the left and the liver lies to the right side.


"We know that in the phase of development, there is a genetic cascade that leads to the proper placement of organs. If that cascade is disrupted, the results can lead to major problems or be fatal," said Salk Professor Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, who published the findings in the January 8 issue of Nature. Still, scientists did not have a clear understanding of what triggers the genetic cascade that defines organ placement. Izpisúa Belmonte’s group focused on the activity of the Notch pathway, an important player during embryo development and also during tumorigenesis, and a key factor for proper left-right asymmetry, as the same group and others had learned earlier this year.

"We knew that Notch activity was necessary for the normal, left-sided expression, but we were clueless as to what was activating Notch preferentially on the left side," said Angel Raya, lead author of the paper. "We examined several factors known to participate early in the establishment of the left-right axis, but none was responsible for what we were seeing."

Izpisúa Belmonte and his team characterized a highly complex chain of events leading to Notch activation, and resorted to mathematics to model the dynamics of this process. The model allowed the team to perform thousands of experiments in the computer (simulations), and pinpoint the factors most likely to regulate Notch activity in the specific fashion seen in the embryo.

"The model pointed in the direction of extracellular calcium, and we were absolutely thrilled when we visualized that, indeed, extracellular calcium accumulated normally on the left side of the embryo. The mathematical model that we developed saved us years of bench work and led to new insights about a biological problem," said Izpisúa Belmonte. "We are very excited about this multidisciplinary approach to biology, and we believe that collaborative approaches between biologists, mathematicians, and physicists working together will lead to long-term breakthroughs in biological research."


The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, located in La Jolla, Calif., is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to fundamental discoveries in the life sciences, the improvement of human health and conditions, and the training of future generations of researchers. The Institute was founded in 1960 by Jonas Salk, M.D., with a gift of land from the City of San Diego and the financial support of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.

Robert Bradford | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.salk.edu/

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Coastal wetlands excel at storing carbon
01.02.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht The Attraction Effect: how our Brains Can Be Influenced
30.01.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>