Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Master Gene Controls Healing Of "Skin" In Fruit Flies And Mammals

15.04.2005


University of California, San Diego biologists and their colleagues have discovered that the genetic system controlling the development and repair of insect cuticle—the outer layer of the body surface in insects—also controls these processes in mammalian skin, a finding that could lead to new insights into the healing of wounds and treatment of cancer.


Image shows activation of cuticle repair genes (green) surrounding wound (center) in a fruit fly larva (red)
Credit: Kimberly Mace, UCSF



The UCSD biologists’ study, published April 15 in the journal Science identifies a master gene called grainyhead that activates wound repair genes in the cells surrounding an injury in the cuticle of a fly embryo. These wound repair genes then regenerate the injured patch of cuticle.

In a separate study published in the same issue of Science, a team of researchers led by Stephen Jane at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Melbourne, Australia report that, although insect cuticle and the outer layer of mammal skin are very different chemically, the grainyhead gene is also essential for normal skin development and wound repair in mice.


“The discovery that grainyhead-like factors are required for the response to injury opens up new avenues of research in the field of wound healing,” said Kimberly Mace, the first author of the UCSD paper. “It also opens new avenues for cancer research, since many cancer cells activate genes normally involved in wound healing in order to kick start processes such as cell division and cell migration.”

Mace, a former graduate student of biology professor William McGinnis, who led the UCSD team, became interested in the healing of insect cuticle when she noticed lesions in the cuticle of certain fruit fly mutants. She suspected that the lesions were scar tissue resulting from the failure of the body surface barrier to develop properly. Confirming her suspicions, the mutant embryos turned out to be much more permeable to a dye than normal embryos.

The group also showed that the genes active in the mutant flies’ lesions were activated in normal flies in cells surrounding a wound created with a sterile needle. The researchers then worked backward, using bioinformatics—computational analysis of DNA sequences—to identify grainyhead as the master gene that initiates the genetic chain reaction that results in cuticle repair. Wounds in mutant flies that lack the grainyhead gene fail to heal.

“The genes involved in cuticle repair are activated very quickly, within 30 minutes after injury,” said Joseph Pearson, a graduate student working under McGinnis and a coauthor of the paper. “They are activated over many cell diameters, most strongly at the boundaries of the wound, suggesting that the grainyhead gene initiates the cuticle repair response after it receives an as-of-yet unidentified signal produced in cells adjacent to the injury.”

In its study, Jane’s team found that, like their fruit fly counterparts, mice lacking grainyhead have a much more permeable skin than normal mice and have deficient wound repair. Both groups point out in their papers that it is interesting that the regulatory mechanisms for development and repair of the surface barrier in insects and mammals have been conserved, given the differences in the molecular composition of insect cuticle and mammal skin.

“The proteins that link together to form the insect cuticle and stratum corneum—the outer layer of mammal skin—are completely different,” says McGinnis. “So it is remarkable that flies and mammals share an ancient conserved pathway to construct and repair the body envelope that protects them from sharp edges and microbes, even though that body envelope is constructed of mostly different molecules.”

In their paper, the UCSD researchers state that studying the wound response pathway in fruit flies, which are easy to manipulate genetically, may provide new insight into wound healing in mammals. For example, Mace points out that very little is known how wound tissue stops its growth behavior when the wound is healed. In addition, cancer cells evade this "stop" program, but how they do it is not well understood.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Sherry Seethaler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

nachricht Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017
25.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>