Using genetically engineered mice, researchers with the University of Minnesota Medical School's Lillehei Heart Institute were able to identify a protein, Nkx2-5, which activates a certain gene, and in turn, determines the fate of a group of cells in a developing embryo.
"If we can understand the mechanism, or how certain stem cells choose a particular path, we can alter it to prevent or treat disease," said Daniel Garry, M.D., Ph.D., lead researcher, executive director of the institute, and chief of the cardiovascular division in the Department of Medicine. "This gene discovery provides the key to unlocking the secret of how blood vessels grow."
Researchers knew that certain precursor cells, or progenitor cells, become the three types of cells that make up the cardiovascular system: smooth muscle, endothelial (blood vessel), and cardiac muscle. What they didn't know, until now, is how those progenitor cells end up as one type or another. Garry likened the team's discovery to finding the recipe of how certain cells become blood vessels.
By understanding how the cells develop, Garry said they will be able to study how they might modify the gene to create a desired response.
"Next we are looking at how we could over-express the gene or knock it down," he said.
For example, in the case of heart disease or heart failure, they may be able to "turn on" the gene to make it create new, healthy blood vessels. Or, in the case of cancer, they could turn off the gene to limit blood supply to a tumor, causing it to shrink.
Sara Martin | EurekAlert!
Modern genetic sequencing tools give clearer picture of how corals are related
17.08.2017 | University of Washington
The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies
16.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.08.2017 | Materials Sciences