Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cilia: small organelles, big decisions

05.10.2007
Johns Hopkins researchers say they have figured out how human and all animal cells tune in to a key signal, one that literally transmits the instructions that shape their final bodies. It turns out the cells assemble their own little radio antenna on their surfaces to help them relay the proper signal to the developmental proteins “listening” on the inside of the cell.

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.

... more about:
»Katsanis »Wnt »cilia »proteins

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.”

Nick Zagorski | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhmi.edu
http://www.nature.com/ng
http://katsanis.igm.jhmi.edu/

Further reports about: Katsanis Wnt cilia proteins

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht 127 at one blow...
18.01.2017 | Stiftung Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere

nachricht How gut bacteria can make us ill
18.01.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Explaining how 2-D materials break at the atomic level

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Data analysis optimizes cyber-physical systems in telecommunications and building automation

18.01.2017 | Information Technology

Reducing household waste with less energy

18.01.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>