The transmitters are primary cilia, relatively rigid, hairlike “tails” that respond to specialized signals from a host of proteins, including a key family of proteins known as Wnts. The Wnts in turn trigger a cascade of shape-making decisions that guide cells to take specific shapes, like curved eyelid cells or vibrating hair cells in the ear, and even make sure that arms and legs emerge at the right spots.
“Our experiments go to the heart of the development and maintenance of our body tissue,” says Johns Hopkins geneticist Nicholas Katsanis, Ph.D., associate professor at the McKusick-Nathans Institute for Genetic Medicine. “Any miscues with the Wnt signaling pathway,” says Katsanis, “and you’re looking at major childhood diseases and defects.”
In a report published on September 30 in Nature Genetics, Katsanis and his team used a small transparent fish, zebrafish, to literally watch what happened if they chemically blocked the production of three proteins that are required for primary cilia function during the period when a fish egg develops into a grown up, fully-finned fish.
The more they blocked, the more developmental errors - for example, the growing fish would not properly extend their tails - they were able to track to defective Wnt signaling.
Katsanis notes that once inside a cell, the Wnt pathway splits into two branches that need to be balanced depending on the needs of each cell: the so-called canonical branch, which typically drives cells to multiply, and the non-canonical branch, which controls messages to refine cell shape and growth. The errors seen in the fish pointed to an imbalance where canonical signaling predominated.
A series of biochemical studies revealed that cilia normally help a cell keep the right balance by selectively destroying proteins in the canonical branch to prevent excess growth. Defective ciliary function therefore leads to defective destruction of key proteins, which then causes problems in interpreting the Wnt signal.
“We thought that the key to the balancing act occurred inside the cell, but it now seems clear that the cilia are the main relay stations,” Katsanis says. “We’ve just reset a huge volume of literature under a new light.”
Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences