Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fireflies and jellyfish help illuminate quest for cause of infertility

31.03.2009
Genes taken from fireflies and jellyfish are literally shedding light on possible causes of infertility and autoimmune diseases in humans.

Scientists are using the luminescent and florescent genes to illuminate cells that produce a hormone linked to conditions, which include rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

The technique will help scientists track the production of the hormone prolactin, which is crucial in ensuring supplies of breast milk in nursing mothers but can be overproduced by some pituitary tumours, causing infertility.

Prolactin has been linked to more than 300 biological functions. It is believed to play a role in autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as in the inflammation of cells and tissues.

Scientists from the Universities of Edinburgh, Manchester and Liverpool harnessed firefly and jellyfish genes, which enable these creatures to emit light, and used them to create a chemical reaction to light up cells expressing prolactin in rats.

The technique means that scientists can identify when and where prolactin is expressed to look at how the hormone works in real time.

Sabrina Semprini, whose study is published in the journal Molecular Endocrinology, said: "The lighting up of cells expressing this hormone will help us to understand its role within the body and could help research looking for treatments for conditions in which prolactin is involved."

The research, funded by the Wellcome Trust, identified cells producing prolactin throughout the body. This included the pituitary gland, the thymus – an organ in the chest which helps protect against autoimmunity – the spleen and inflammatory cells in the abdominal cavity.

Tara Womersley | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ed.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility
14.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

nachricht Guardians of the Gate
14.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>