Research of the European Zebrafish Resource Center of KIT provides insight into the development of the central nervous system of vertebrates -- publication in Nature Communications
During embryonal development of vertebrates, signaling molecules inform each cell at which position it is located. In this way, the cell can develop its special structure and function. For the first time now, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have shown that these signaling molecules are transmitted in bundles via long filamentary cell projections.
These images show control of cell differentiation in the central nervous system: Long, blue-colored cytoplasmic projections, so-called filopodia, carry the red-colored signaling protein Wnt at the tip. As soon as neighboring cells are activated by the Wnt filopodia, the contact points are colored yellow.
Photos: Eliana Stanganello and Steffen Scholpp
Studies of zebrafish of the scientists of the European Zebrafish Resource Center (EZRC) of KIT revealed how the transport of the signaling molecules influences signaling properties. A publication in the Nature Communications journal presents the results.
Organisms, organs, and tissues are complex three-dimensional systems that consist of thousands of cells of various types. During embryonal development of vertebrates, each cell requires information on the position at which it is located in the tissue.
This position information enables the cell to develop a certain cell type for later execution of the correct function. This information is transmitted via signal molecules, so-called morphogenes. These morphogenes are not homogenously distributed in the tissue, their concentration varies. Various concentrations activate various genes in the target cell.
The cells in the developing central nervous system receive their position information from signal molecules belonging to the family of Wnt proteins. The concentration of Wnt proteins determines whether a cell differentiates to a cell of the forebrain or of the afterbrain. "Distribution of these signal molecules has to be controlled precisely," Dr. Steffen Scholpp, head of a research group of the KIT Institute of Toxicology and Genetics (ITG), explains. "Smallest changes of the concentration or the transport direction may cause severe damage, such as massive malformations during embryonal development or formation of cancer."
For the first time now, the working group of Dr. Steffen Scholpp has shown that the Wnt proteins are transmitted specifically via long cell projections, so-called filopodia. In the Nature Communications journal, the scientists report that the signaling factors are loaded on the tips of the filopodia only. In this way, signaling can start immediately upon contacting. The signaling factors bind to the corresponding receptors of the target cell and induce the correct cell response.
"Now, the source cell can decide precisely which target cell receives how much signaling protein at which time," Scholpp explains. The KIT researchers study zebrafish and human cell lines and succeeded in reproducing or reducing the filopodia and analyzing the resulting changes of signaling properties of the Wnt morphogenes.
Eliana Stanganello, Anja I.H. Hagemann, Benjamin Mattes, Claude Sinner, Dana Meyen, Sabrina Weber, Alexander Schug, Erez Raz & Steffen Scholpp: Filopodia-based Wnt transport during vertebrate tissue patterning. Nature Communications, published 5 January 2015. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6846
About the EZRC
The European Zebrafish Resource Center (EZRC) of KIT accommodates a central archive for the cultivation and distribution of zebrafish stems for research. Zebrafishes are ideal model organisms for studying the causes of cancer or cardiac diseases or the effects of medical substances. Most organ systems of these vertebrates correspond to the organ systems of human beings. Moreover, zebrafish eggs are transparent and develop outside of the mother's body. In this way, the development of organs or even of individual cells can be observed in the embryo or the also transparent larva. The EZRC also is a screening center that offers innovative technologies, such as high-throughput synthesis of medical substances, genome sequencing, robotics and software for sample handling, microscopy, and image analysis.
Monika Landgraf | EurekAlert!
Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood
23.02.2017 | American Chemical Society
New Mechanisms of Gene Inactivation may prevent Aging and Cancer
23.02.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
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”...
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...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
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...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences
23.02.2017 | Life Sciences