Researchers at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC), in Portugal, have taken a major step forward in understanding one of the fundamental questions in the field of developmental biology today: how the organs are placed in their correct positions in the body. In a study published in the 1st October issue of the journal Genes and Development, the scientists describe, for the first time, the role of the gene Cerl-2 (Cerberus-like-2), in setting up the asymmetric distribution of organs in the embryo, that is, why the heart always is always on the left and the liver always on the right hand side of the body, for example.
The team of scientists, lead by José António Belo, made genetically altered mice, in which the Cerl-2 gene is not functional, known as ‘knockout’ mice. These animals show several physical changes, such as lungs with two identical lobes (the left lobe), left-right inversions of the heart and lungs and of some abdominal organs (the stomach, the duodenum and the kidneys, for example).
The effect of Cerl-2 on the left-right asymmetry of the embryos seems to be a result of its role as an antagonist of another gene previously implicated in this process, known as Nodal. Nodal is switched on asymmetrically in the embryo, only on the left hand side of a tissue called the lateral plate mesoderm (there is also the right lateral plate mesoderm) and in the left half of the node (a signaling structure that is crucial for the correct development of the embryo). Nodal turns on a signaling cascade of genes, restricted to the left hand-side of the embryo. On the other hand, Cerl-2 is switched on in only the right half of the node, adjacent to the area of Nodal.
Ana Coutinho | alfa
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
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...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences