Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Vanderbilt research unlocks molecular key to animal evolution and disease

19.04.2017

The dawn of the Animal Kingdom began with a collagen scaffold that enabled the organization of cells into tissues.

This key innovation, which made possible the rich diversity of life on earth, is found in the most ancient of currently living animals - the ctenophore, Vanderbilt University Medical Center scientists report today in the online journal eLife.


The comb jelly, or ctenophore, is an ancient marine invertebrate that may be the key to understanding the transition from single-celled to multicellular animals and the evolution of tissues, Vanderbilt University researchers reported this week.

Photo courtesy of Alexander Semenov

Ctenophores, commonly called comb jellies, are marine invertebrates known for their translucent, globe-like bodies that refract light into dazzling rainbow-like colors.

They have one thing in common with all animals - rope-like collagen IV molecules that assemble into scaffolds outside of the cell. These "smart" scaffolds are the fundamental architectural unit of the basement membrane, which, in turn, connects cells, provides strength to tissues and transmits information that influences how cells behave

Understanding how collagen IV scaffolds bridged the transition from unicellular to multicellular animal life sheds light on diseases as diverse as kidney failure and cancer, said senior author Billy Hudson, Ph.D., the Elliott V. Newman Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

"The fundamental principles of tissue development are present in ancient animals," Hudson said. "You can study them in a very simple way. It sets us up to develop a deeper understanding of tissue biology and the cause of a multitude of diseases."

The search for the evolutionary beginning of collagen IV scaffolds began in the Hudson lab in 2009 with help from high school students and college undergraduates who participated in the AspirnautTM summer research program. The team analyzed tissues from creatures as ancient as sponges and comb jellies.

"We found that among all the collagens that make up the human body, collagen IV was the key innovation enabling single-celled organisms to evolve into multicellular animals," said first author Aaron Fidler, a graduate student mentored by Hudson.

Fidler, who will defend his Ph.D. dissertation this summer, described collagen IV as a kind of molecular "glue" that ultimately enabled the formation of tissues and organs.

"Our findings pose questions about how collagen IV glues cells together, and how information is stored in the rope-like scaffolds to influence cell behavior," Hudson said. "That information is the foundation for understanding defects in disease and development of new therapies."

###

Others contributing to the paper were Antonis Rokas, Ph.D., Julie Hudson, M.D., Jay Jerome, Ph.D., Kyle Brown, Ph.D., Sergei Chetyrkin, Ph.D., Carl Darris, Ph.D., Vadim Pedchenko, Ph.D., and Sergey Budko, Ph.D.

Media Contact

Craig Boerner
craig.boerner@vanderbilt.edu
615-322-4747

http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/npa 

Craig Boerner | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht ADP-ribosylation on the right track
26.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biologie des Alterns

nachricht Flavins keep a handy helper in their pocket
25.04.2018 | University of Freiburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Why we need erasable MRI scans

26.04.2018 | Medical Engineering

Balancing nuclear and renewable energy

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Researchers 3-D print electronics and cells directly on skin

26.04.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>