Cells of the vascular system of vertebrates can fuse with themselves. This process, which occurs when a blood vessel is no longer necessary and pruned, has now been described on the cellular level by Prof. Markus Affolter from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel. The findings of this study have been published in the journal “PLoS Biology”.
The vascular system is the supply network of the human organism and delivers oxygen and nutrients to the last corners of the body. So far, research on the vascular system has focused primarily on the formation of such vascular networks.
Markus Affolter’s research group at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has now investigated the blood vessel pruning in the zebrafish and discovered that the cells have the ability to self-fuse at the membrane margins. Previously, it was unknown that blood vessel cells of vertebrates have this property.
Self-fusion observed in vertebrates for the first time
The formation of blood vessels follows a complicated architectural plan. “At a first glance, the plan for vascular regression seems to be the same but it must differ at the molecular level”, explains Markus Affolter. During vascular regression, most of the cells consecutively migrate and incorporate into the neighboring functional vessels.
The last single cell that remains in the pruning vessel reaches around the lumen and the membrane margins of this cell undergo fusion thus closing the vessel and assuring its tightness. This process, named cell self-fusion, ensures a controlled closure of a regressive blood vessel thus preventing blood leakage. For the first time this self-fusion of cells has been observed in vertebrates, the group humans also belong to. “Such cell behavior was so far only known in simpler organisms such as nematodes”, explains Markus Affolter.
Greater plasticity through self-fusion
During the development of the vascular network, blood vessels are constantly formed but many of them are only required temporarily. Just like a disused arm of a highly branched river, the flow of fresh blood through these vessels is interrupted and the organism begins to prune this side arm. In this way the vascular system regulates itself, optimizing its blood circulation by pruning and recycling the unnecessary vessels with reduced blood flow and blood pressure.
“This newly uncovered process is important for the understanding of blood vessel formation and regression on the cellular level, as this can also explain the extraordinary plasticity and changeability of the vascular system”, says Anna Lenard, the first author of this publication. These investigations were performed on the zebrafish, as in this almost transparent fish the development of blood vessels can be observed in the living animal using modern microscopy techniques.
Relevance of self-fusion for cancer?
“How the cell recognizes its own membrane margins and how fusion with neighboring blood vessel cells is prevented, is not yet known”, says Markus Affolter. Since a long time it has been postulated that each individual cell of an organism has its own code.
“The regression process could partly confirm this theory”, thinks Markus Affolter. Together with his team, he would like to investigate the self-fusion process more closely. As tumors require a well developed vascular system for their growth, a better understanding of the formation and regression of this network could open possibilities for the manipulation of such a system.
Anna Lenard, Stephan Daetwyler, Charles Betz, Elin Ellertsdottir, Heinz-Georg Belting, Jan Huisken, Markus Affolter:
Endothelial Cell Self-fusion during Vascular Pruning.
PLoS Biology published online 17 April 2015 | DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002126
Heike Sacher, Biozentrum Communications,Tel. +41 61 267 14 49, E-Mail: email@example.com University of Basel
Heike Sacher | Universität Basel
Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...
Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.
Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
16.01.2017 | Information Technology
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering