Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NYU scientists ID key factor in how fruit fly color receptor cells ’decide’ their type

13.03.2006


Biologists at New York University have identified a key factor that enables photoreceptor cells to decide their color sensitivity. The findings, which were uncovered by researchers in Professor Claude Desplan’s laboratory in NYU’s Center for Developmental Genetics, were published in the March 9th issue of the journal Nature.



The researchers used the fruit fly Drosophila as a genetic model system to study stochastic events like color sensitivity in photoreceptor cells. The eye of the fly contains some 800 optical units, called ommatidia. Each ommatidium contains six outer and two inner photoreceptors (R7 and R8); the inner receptors detect color, like cone cells in human eyes. Approximately 30 percent of the ommatidia are named "pale," with sensitivity to blue light, and about 70 percent are called "yellow," with sensitivity to green light. This ratio of 30 to 70 appears in a large number of diverse species of flies. However, these receptors are stochastically (or randomly) distributed.

Desplan, the corresponding author of the article, said, "The key question we explored was how each individual R7 and R8 receptor ’decides’ to be either ’pale’ or ’yellow,’ and how this ’decision’ contributes to the stochastic distribution of each type in the mosaic of color photoreceptors in the fruit flies’ eyes."


In this study, the researchers identified a transcription factor gene nicknamed spineless as the key regulator for establishing the retinal mosaic when expressed during the fruit flies’ mid-pupation stage. For fruit flies in which the spineless gene could not be expressed, all of the R7 photoreceptors and most R8 receptors were "pale"; for flies for which there was an overexpression of spineless, all photoreceptors were "yellow." Moreover, the researchers found that the receptor cells made their "decision" autonomously (i.e., without the influence, as in the case of some similar biological processes, of other, nearby cells).

Desplan said, "Stochastic gene expression is an important and fascinating area in biology; the arrangement of receptors for color vision is an excellent model for considering this area. The research in the Nature paper focuses on the cell’s ’decision’ about what type of cell it wants to be, and, with spineless, for the first time we have identified a factor that controls a cell autonomous stochastic choice process. These findings nicely complement the findings of our paper in Cell in September, which explored the mechanisms by which a cell’s ’decision,’ once made, is reinforced."

James Devitt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nyu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution
27.03.2017 | Lancaster University

nachricht Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function
27.03.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>