Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Retinoic acid gradient visualized for the first time in an embryo

08.04.2013
In a ground-breaking study, researchers from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan report a new technique that allows them to visualize the distribution of retinoic acid in a live zebrafish embryo, in real-time.

This technique enabled them to observe two concentration gradients going in opposing directions along the head-to-tail axis of the embryo, thus providing long-awaited evidence that retinoic acid is a morphogen.


These are retinoic acid gradients in a zebrafish embryo, visualized using cyan and yellow fluorophores. Credit: RIKEN

The report, published today in the journal Nature, puts an end to a long-standing debate around the presence of retinoic acid gradients across the vertebrate embryo, during the early stages of development. It also sheds light on the role of retinoic acid in tissue development.

Retinoic acid has been thought to be a morphogen, a signalling molecule that diffuses throughout the embryo switching genes on and off and imparting different cell fates depending on its concentration. However, retinoic acid concentration gradients had never been visualized because retinoic acid cannot be tagged with the commonly used 'green fluorescent protein' GFP, or GFP-like proteins, as label.

"Until now no one had succeeded in monitoring the concentration of retinoic acid in real-time in a live embryo, and there was no direct data proving the existence of a retinoic acid gradient in the vertebrate embryo, explains Dr. Miyawaki, who led the research.

In order to monitor the concentration of retinoic acid in live zebrafish embryos at the early stages of their development, Dr. Miyawaki and his colleague Dr. Shimozono developed a technique to tag the molecule that acts as receptor for retinoic acid with genetically-encoded, coloured fluorophores. Based on the principle of fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), the tags allow them to visualize the presence of retinoic acid and quantitatively determine its concentration over time.

By combining this technique with pharmacological and genetic manipulations, Miyawaki and his team demonstrate the presence of two linear retinoic acid concentration gradients across the antero-posterior axis of the embryo, from the trunk area to the head and the tail. Their findings suggest that retinoic acid diffuses quickly, thus establishing stable and robust gradients that are resistant to external perturbations.

"A better understanding of the gradients of retinoic acid is essential for research into the patterns of tissue development. It is necessary if we ever want to control the development of three-dimensional tissue structures from induced pluripotent stem cells, for regenerative medicine for example," concludes Dr. Miyawaki.

Juliette Savin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.riken.jp

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics
27.07.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

nachricht Seeing more with PET scans: New chemistry for medical imaging
27.07.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists gain new insights into nanosystems with spherical confinement

27.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

Seeing more with PET scans: New chemistry for medical imaging

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Did you know that infrared heat and UV light contribute to the success of your barbecue?

27.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>