Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Oregon researchers discover a mechanism leading to cleft palate

14.02.2008
Work in zebrafish points to tiny gene products that regulate specific cell traffic of a key protein

By creating a genetic mutation in zebrafish, University of Oregon scientists say they've discovered a previously unknown mechanism for cleft palate, a common birth defect in humans that has challenged medical professionals for centuries.

Many molecular pathways in zebrafish are present in humans and other vertebrates. By studying the induced mutation in zebrafish, the 10-member research team isolated a disruption in early developmental signaling involving Pdgf, a platelet-derived growth-factor protein, and a microRNA known as Mirn140, the researchers write in a paper posted online in advance of regular publication the monthly journal Nature Genetics.

Mutant zebrafish lacking Pdgf had cleft palate similar to many human babies, showing that this growth factor helps to organize cells that make the palate. It came as a surprise that zebrafish into which the investigators had injected too much Mirn140 also had cleft palate.

... more about:
»MicroRNA »Mirn140 »PDGF »Pdgfra »cleft »cleft palate »palate

MicroRNAs are small gene products, found to be involved in gene expression, that were first described in 1993 by researchers at Harvard University. The term microRNA was introduced in when these single-strand RNA molecules about nucleotides in length were more fully detailed in Science in October 2001 by Gary Ruvkun of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Mirn140, when operating normally, allows for normal cell signaling by the Pdgfra protein that properly triggers cell migrations necessary for correct oral-cranial building. The researchers showed that Mirn140 blocks the cell’s expression of Pdgfra. Thus, cleft palate can result from too little Pdgfra that occurs because of either a mutation in the Pdgfra gene or too much Mirn140.

"We showed that this microRNA regulates the expression of the gene by controlling the migration of precursor cells to the palate-forming area," said principal investigator John H. Postlethwait, a professor of biology and member of the UO's Institute of Molecular Biology and Institute of Neuroscience. "This is a novel mechanism never before described."

A cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth in which the two sides of the palate did not fuse, or join together, during a baby's early development. Cleft palate can negatively affect speech production, feeding, maxillofacial growth and dentition.

The first known attempt to correct the defect occurred in 500 A.D. The defect occurs with or without cleft lip (a separation of the two sides of the lip), on average, in 1 in 600 newborns, according to the Cleft Palate Foundation, but can vary by race. The highest incidence (3.6 per 1,000 births) occurs in American Indians. Palate formation begins after five weeks of gestation in humans and defects can become visible at 17 weeks, according to WebMD’s eMedicine.

The findings provide a new window into the mechanisms involved in cleft palate and craniofacial defects, but researchers caution that the findings don't point toward new clinical applications.

"Further exploration of how microRNAs and other factors modulate signaling pathways such as the Pdgf pathway during palatogenesis will assuredly continue to provide insights into the cause of, and possible treatments for, human craniofacial disease," the authors conclude.

Co-authors of the Nature Genetics paper with Postlethwait were: postdoctoral researcher Johann K. Eberhart; graduate students Xinjun He and Hao Song; research assistant Mary E. Swartz; research associate Yi-Lin Yan; undergraduate students Taylor C. Boling and Allison K. Kunerth; former graduate student Macie B. Walker; and Charles B. Kimmel, professor emeritus of biology. Eberhart and He were team leaders on the project, but all co-authors contributed equally.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health and U.S. National Center for Research Resources funded the research through grants to Postlethwait, Eberhart and Kimmel.

About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of 62 of the leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. Membership in the AAU is by invitation only. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Jim Barlow | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uoregon.edu

Further reports about: MicroRNA Mirn140 PDGF Pdgfra cleft cleft palate palate

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A novel socio-ecological approach helps identifying suitable wolf habitats
17.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht New, ultra-flexible probes form reliable, scar-free integration with the brain
16.02.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

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”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

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...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>