Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine have found that lack of a specific gene interrupts neural tube closure, a condition that can cause death or paralysis.
"The neural tube is the beginning of the brain and spinal cord," said the study's lead investigator Lee Niswander, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics at the CU School of Medicine. "A defect in the mLin41 gene doesn't allow the tube to close because not enough neural progenitor cells are being made. The study was the cover story this week in the journal Genes & Development.
Niswander and the paper's first author, Jianfu Chen, Ph.D., made their findings while studying neural stem cells in mice. They said the cells use distinct self-renewal programs to meet the demand of tissue growth and repair during different stages of embryonic development. The molecular mechanisms that control these programs remain largely unknown.
The researchers discovered that the gene mLin41 in mice controls the extent of neural stem cell proliferation during the process of neural closure but not at the later stage of brain development.
According to Chen, mLin41 works with small RNAs and RNA regulators that have never been investigated before in connection with neural tube formation.
Niswander, who is also an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute based in Washington, D.C., said the findings shed new light on neural tube development.
"Our work opens up a whole other pathway toward understanding neural tube defects," she said. "It's a new and significant piece of the puzzle behind understanding how this happens."
Faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine work to advance science and improve care. These faculty members include physicians, educators and scientists at University of Colorado Hospital, The Children's Hospital Colorado, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Degrees offered by the CU Denver School of Medicine include doctor of medicine, doctor of physical therapy, and masters of physician assistant studies. The School is located on the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus, one of four campuses in the University of Colorado system.
David Kelly | EurekAlert!
Fine organic particles in the atmosphere are more often solid glass beads than liquid oil droplets
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie
Study overturns seminal research about the developing nervous system
21.04.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy