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 Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>