Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Keeping biological tubes in check: New insights into tube size morphogenesis

24.01.2006


The function of tubular organs like the kidneys, lungs, and vessels of the vascular system is critically dependent on the length and diameter of the tubular branches of which they are composed. Several devastating pathological conditions like polycystic kidney disease and ischemias have been intimately linked to the aberrant sizes of tubular organs. Yet the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms that control tube size are poorly understood, and, consequently, drugs that intervene in tubular organ disorders are lacking.



Over the past few years, the tracheal system of the fruit fly Drosophila has provided important general insights into epithelial organ morphogenesis. The fly’s tracheal system is a tubular network that functions in respiration by transporting oxygen throughout the insect body. In two separate new studies, researchers have taken advantage of the usefulness of the Drosophila tracheal system as a model for understanding the development of tubular organs. Both studies point to the important role played in this process by the luminal extracellular matrix (ECM)--a scaffold of sorts that provides structure to surrounding cells and tissues. Past work had shown that inside the tracheal tube, or lumen, the polysaccharide molecule chitin forms a cylinder that is essential for the coordinated dilation of the surrounding epithelium to its normal mature size: Mutants lacking chitin show tubes with irregular diameter.

In one of the new studies, a group led by Christos Samakovlis at Stockholm University has revealed further evidence for an "instructive" function of the luminal ECM in tube size control. They found that while uniform expansion of tube diameter requires the growth of a luminal chitin scaffold, the subsequent modification of this chitinous mandrel by specialized enzymes (called chitin deacetylases) instructs the termination of tube elongation. Mutations in two genes encoding these enzymes disrupt tubular morphogenesis. The authors’ additional discovery that proper luminal localization of one of the chitin deacetylases requires a specialized secretory pathway and intact structures called paracellular septate junctions provides a mechanistic model for tracheal tube size regulation.


The other new study, from Stefan Luschnig and colleagues at Bayreuth University, Germany, and at Stanford University, reports a similar set of findings. These researchers also identified the two chitin deacetyase genes as specifically controlling tube length. As did the Samakovlis group, the researchers found that mutations in these genes, called serpentine (serp) and vermiform (verm), cause excessively elongated and tortuous tracheal tubes. Unlike previously characterized genes, serp and verm are not required for producing chitin, but rather are required for its normal fibrillar structure. The findings of the two groups suggest that tube length is controlled by modulating physical properties of the chitin cylinder. These properties may be sensed by tracheal cells, mediating the restriction of cell elongation.

Given the many similarities in the developmental mechanisms and cellular designs of tubular organs across species, the distinct roles of the luminal ECM in tracheal tube size control provide new leads in the investigation of lumen size regulation in a variety of tubular organs.

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.current-biology.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Research team creates new possibilities for medicine and materials sciences
22.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

nachricht Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent
22.01.2018 | Universität des Saarlandes

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Thanks for the memory: NIST takes a deep look at memristors

22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Radioactivity from oil and gas wastewater persists in Pennsylvania stream sediments

22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent

22.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks Wissenschaft & Forschung
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>