Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery of a molecular mechanism underlying limb architecture

30.10.2006
A genetic study performed by Dr. Marie Kmita, a researcher at the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal (IRCM), in collaboration with Drs Basile Tarchini and Denis Duboule of the University of Geneva in Switzerland, sheds light on the origins of the architecture of arms and legs.

The results of their research, to be published in the October 26 issue of the prestigious journal Nature, describe how the operational mode of several "architect" genes has been recycled in the course of evolution to enable limb formation.

The establishment of the body architecture is genetically controlled and involves a family of "architect" genes called the Hox genes which has been conserved throughout evolution. The ancestral function of the Hox genes is to set up "foundations" of the body by defining positional information that instruct cells about their fate. This is how the body is shaped and how organs and skeletal elements are positioned. In the course of evolution, some of these genes have been reused to control limb development. Indeed, previous research by Dr. Kmita showed that without these genes, limbs would not form.

The particular feature of Hox genes is that they are aligned along the DNA molecule in the same order as the structures they will form. The sequential activation of these genes is therefore responsible for the defined distribution of organs and various parts of the skeleton along the anterior-posterior axis (from the head to the feet). The study, carried out by Dr. Kmita and her colleagues, shows that the ancestral strategy underlying Hox genes' activation was recycled during the emergence of vertebrate limbs to set up the architecture of arms and legs. In embryonic limb buds, the Hox genes are sequentially activated so that their domains of activity overlap along the anterior-posterior axis (from the thumb to the little finger), with a maximum activity in the posterior domain. It is precisely this peak of activity that triggers the activation of a "polarizing" gene called Sonic Hedgehog, specifically in the posterior region of the developing limb, thereby generating the asymmetry of our limbs (for example, the fact that our fingers are different from each other).

... more about:
»Architecture »Evolution »Hox »Kmita »activation »asymmetry

This discovery explains how limb asymmetry is genetically set up. This is an important finding as limb asymmetry is required for the broad range of motion of our hands, which make them man's primary tool.

Lucette Thériault | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ircm.qc.ca

Further reports about: Architecture Evolution Hox Kmita activation asymmetry

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Unique genome architectures after fertilisation in single-cell embryos
30.03.2017 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus 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: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

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...

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

'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

An LED-based device for imaging radiation induced skin damage

30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>