Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Balancing act

12.01.2009
A recently discovered protein works behind the scenes to confer much-needed stabilization to an essential developmental pathway

Early in development, embryos transition from being simple spheres of cells into more structured forms in which the foundations of body patterning—such as distinct dorsal (back) and ventral (front) sides—have been established.

Dorsal–ventral patterning is primarily established by BMP signaling factors, which exhibit a gradient of activity along the length of the embryo: elevated BMP activity induces ventral development, while reduced BMP signaling induces dorsality. Reduction in BMP activity is mediated by a structure known as the Spemann organizer, which secretes factors like Chordin, which inactivates BMP and drives dorsalization.

However, BMP also represses Chordin expression, creating a seemingly fragile regulatory situation in which transient upregulation of Chordin could trigger a chain reaction of uncontrolled Chordin upregulation, with catastrophic results for body patterning.

This isn’t the case; in fact, this process is surprisingly robust. Yoshiki Sasai of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, suspected that additional failsafe mechanisms must exist to stabilize Chordin–BMP regulation, and decided to investigate the involvement of a protein recently discovered by his team, ONT1, which they thought might play a role in body patterning (1).

ONT1 is produced and secreted by cells in the dorsal region of the embryo, where it appears to directly regulate Chordin function, and Sasai’s team found that frog embryos with reduced ONT1 activity are far more vulnerable to excessive dorsalization in the presence of abnormally elevated Chordin levels. “We were really surprised to see how drastically the stability collapsed after knocking down ONT1 function,” he says.

They determined that ONT1 not only interacts directly with Chordin, but also binds to an enzyme known to degrade Chordin, and came to the surprising conclusion that ONT1 acts as a bridge that links the two proteins and thereby expedites destruction of the dorsalization signal. “There are a number of examples of intracellular scaffolds,” says Sasai, “but ONT1 is a rare example of a secreted scaffold for enzymes.”

There is another recently identified pathway for the regulation of dorsal–ventral patterning, mediated by ADMP, a protein that reduces Chordin levels by activating BMP receptors, and ONT1 and ADMP appear to regulate parallel but independent pathways for ensuring robust control of dorsalization in the embryo.

The researchers now hope to delve deeper into this more complex model of organizer regulation. “One important approach will be to establish a mathematical model for this integrated view of organizer function,” says Sasai, “particularly to explain these phenomena in a spatial and real-time fashion.”

Reference

1. Inomata, H., Haraguchi, T. & Sasai, Y. Robust stability of the embryonic axial pattern requires a secreted scaffold for Chordin degradation. Cell 134, 854–865 (2008).

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the RIKEN Laboratory for Organogenesis and Neurogenesis

Saeko Okada | ResearchSEA
Further information:
http://www.rikenresearch.riken.jp/research/621/
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>