The right side of the heart is responsible for pulmonary circulation; the left side supplies the rest of the body. This asymmetry allows the heart to do its job effectively. In a study on zebrafish embryos, the MDC researchers Dr. Justus Veerkamp and PD Dr. Salim Seyfried have now shown how the left and right sides of the heart develop differently. Their findings were published in the journal Developmental Cell (doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2013.01.026)*.
A protein called Nodal plays an important role in the development of asymmetry. In an early stage of heart development, Nodal is formed on the left side and triggers a multi-step signaling cascade that enables the cardiac progenitor cells on this side to migrate faster. The researchers were able to observe the migration of the cardiac progenitor cells in the zebrafish embryos in vivo. Since the embryos are transparent it is possible to view each single cell using the microscope.
While analyzing the individual proteins involved in the asymmetric development of the heart, Dr. Veerkamp and Dr. Seyfried encountered a surprise: Previously, scientists had assumed that another signaling molecule, the protein Bmp, triggered cell migration on the left side of the heart and, as a consequence, must be very active there.
Current studies, however, show just the opposite: Bmp reduces the motility of the cells that form the heart. The protein Nodal regulates this process by activating the enzyme Has2. This in turn restricts Bmp activity on the left side. Thus, the cells of the left side of the heart migrate faster and ultimately form a functional, asymmetric heart.However, when the researchers modulated the experiments so that individual proteins of the signaling cascade were expressed at elevated or decreased levels, the cardiac cells showed subtle differences in “random walk” cell motility rates. This resulted in the development of hearts that were completely symmetrical or whose sides were laterally inverted.
Barbara Bachtler | Max-Delbrück-Centrum
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
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
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...
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...
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,...
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...
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...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy