Studies in zebrafish lead to better understanding of blood formation and leukemia development
Researchers at Childrens Hospital Boston have isolated a gene responsible for making blood stem cells. The findings appear in todays issue of the journal Nature. The gene, called cdx4, is responsible for establishing the location of blood cell formation in the developing embryo. Cdx4 works by altering the expression of HOX genes, which are involved in making the body plan. Surprisingly, the authors found that overexpression of cdx4 in zebrafish embryos, or in mouse embryonic stem cells, induces the new production of early blood cells. "We have been searching for genes in the zebrafish that participate in making blood stem cells," according to lead author, Leonard Zon, MD., of Childrens Hospital Boston. "Now that we have these genes, we are one step closer to growing more blood stem cells. This will be potentially useful for patients with severe congenital anemias or bone marrow transplantation for cancer," adds Zon.
Scientists studied a mutant that had a severe anemia because it had few blood stem cells, and also had a tail defect. The zebrafish mutants generally die within seven to ten days after fertilization. They discovered the mutation in the cdx4 gene, which is associated with the early blood deficiency as well as abnormal developmental patterning, including aberrant hox gene expression. When researchers injected the mutants with hox genes, such as hoxb7a and hoxa9a, it resulted in almost complete rescue of the deficient blood cells. Another hox gene, hoxb6b showed some improvement, but hoxb8a did not have any effect on the blood defect. Researchers believe this shows blood cell development is dependent on the proper expression of these hox genes, and that overexpression of these genes can reverse a fatal deficiency in these blood cells. "These zebrafish findings will allow us to better understand normal blood development, with the hopes of eventually developing more effective treatments for these devastating blood disorders such as leukemia," says Zon.
Mary-Ellen Shay | EurekAlert!
Nesting aids make agricultural fields attractive for bees
20.07.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
The Kitchen Sponge – Breeding Ground for Germs
20.07.2017 | Hochschule Furtwangen
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
20.07.2017 | Information Technology
20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy