A new paper in the January 15th issue of G&D provides the structural basis by which FGF8 splice isoforms (FGF8a and FGF8b) differ in their ability to pattern embryonic brain. FGF8b differs from FGF8a solely by the presence of 11 additional amino acids at its N-terminus.
However, only FGF8b can transform midbrain to cerebellum whereas FGF8a causes an overgrowth of midbrain. Dr. Moosa Mohammadis research team has solved the crystal structure of FGF8b in complex with the FGFR2c receptor, and shows that additional contacts between a single amino acid from the alternatively spliced region of FGF8b with the FGFR2c receptor account for the unique ability of FGF8b to transform midbrain to hindbrain during embryogenesis.
The structural and biochemical data not only provide novel insights into the molecular mechanisms of brain development, but also serves as a framework for examining the role of individual FGF8 isoforms in patterning and development of limb, eye, ear and lung. Moreover, this study is the first to demonstrate that differences in the strength of interaction of closely related growth factors with a common receptor can serve as a regulatory mechanism in cellular signaling.
Heather Cosel | EurekAlert!
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Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
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The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
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With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
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An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
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