Snail family genes are present in vertebrates and have counterparts in invertebrates such as the fruit fly Drosophila. To biologists, this means that these genes are "well conserved across species"--in other words, diverse species retained them as they evolved. So it's reasonable to expect that their function would be the same among all vertebrates: mice as well as frogs and birds, for instance.
In a paper just released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, two Jackson Laboratory scientists have demonstrated both a confirmation of the consistent role of Snail genes in vertebrates, and a surprising exception.
Dr. Thomas Gridley and Dr. Steven Murray showed that Snail family genes operate consistently in mice and birds in controlling the acquisition of differences between the two sides of the body. While the body plan of all vertebrates is overtly symmetric on both body sides, most internal organs exhibit an asymmetric distribution. For example, in mammals the heart is located on the left side of the body while the liver is on the right. Gridley and Murray found that, similarly to what has been described for birds, the Snail gene controls acquisition of these asymmetric body differences in mice.
On the other hand, Gridley and Murray found that Snail family gene function relating to neural crest cells is different in mice. Neural crest cells are developmental cells that form at the border of the embryonic neural plate (a structure that later develops into the spinal cord and brain) during early embryo formation. In normal vertebrate development, these cells "delaminate," or separate, from the neural plate, migrate throughout the embryo, and differentiate at their final destinations into a wide variety of cell types.
In frog and bird embryos, Snail family genes are required for neural crest cell formation and delamination. Gridley and Murray discovered that mouse embryos lacking both Snail and Slug had severe defects, yet still formed neural crest cells that were able to delaminate and migrate.
"This work demonstrates that species-specific differences in the regulation of neural crest formation and migration are more profound than previously appreciated," said Gridley. "These results shed surprising new light on the roles of Snail family genes during early development in mammals, and the different roles these genes can play during evolution of individual vertebrate species."
Mark Wanner | EurekAlert!
Research team of the HAW Hamburg reanimated ancestral microbe from the depth of the earth
01.03.2017 | Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg
Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells
01.03.2017 | Universität Basel
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...
On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.
On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
01.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
01.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
01.03.2017 | Life Sciences