Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lack of Protein Sp2 Disrupts Neuron Creation in Brain

16.01.2013
A protein known as Sp2 is key to the proper creation of neurons from stem cells, according to researchers at North Carolina State University. Understanding how this protein works could enable scientists to “program” stem cells for regeneration, which has implications for neural therapies.

Troy Ghashghaei and Jon Horowitz, both faculty in NC State’s Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences and researchers in the Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, wanted to know more about the function of Sp2, a cell cycle regulator that helps control how cells divide.


NC State University

A rendered image of a primary neuronal stem cell culture in which cells were labeled with different fluorescently labeled proteins that differentiate between stem cells (orange/yellow) and their neuronal 'offspring' (blue/green/purple). Neural stem cells are dependent on a protein called Sp2 for their ability to generate neurons.

Previous research from Horowitz had shown that too much Sp2 in skin-producing stem cells resulted in tumors in experimental mice. Excessive amounts of Sp2 prevented the stem cells from creating normal cell “offspring,” or skin cells. Instead, the stem cells just kept producing more stem cells, which led to tumor formation.

“We believe that Sp2 must play a fundamental role in the lives of normal stem cells,” Horowitz says. “Trouble ensues when the mechanisms that regulate its activity are overwhelmed due to its excess abundance.”

Ghashghaei and his team – led by doctoral candidate Huixuan Liang – took the opposite approach. Using genetic tools, they got rid of Sp2 in certain neural stem cells in mice, specifically those that produce the major neurons of the brain’s cerebral cortex. They found that a lack of Sp2 disrupted normal cell formation in these stem cells, and one important result was similar to Horowitz’s: the abnormal stem cells were unable to produce normal cell “offspring,” or neurons. Instead, the abnormal stem cells just created copies of themselves, which were also abnormal.

“It’s interesting that both an overabundance of this protein and a total lack of it result in similar disruptions in how stem cells divide,” Ghashghaei says. “So while this work confirms that Sp2 is absolutely necessary for stem cell function, a lot of questions still remain about what exactly it is regulating, and whether it is present in all stem cells or just a few. We also need to find out if Sp2 deletion or overabundance can produce brain tumors in our mice as in the skin.

“Finally, we are very interested in understanding how Sp2 regulates a very important decision a stem cell has to make: whether to produce more of itself or to produce offspring that can become neurons or skin cells,” Ghashghaei adds. “We hope to address those questions in our future research, because these cellular mechanisms have implications for cancer research, neurodevelopmental diseases and regenerative medicine.”

The results appear online in Development. NC State graduate students Guanxi Xiao, and Haifeng Yin, as well as Dr. Simon Hippenmeyer, a collaborator with the Ghashghaei lab from Austria’s Institute of Science and Technology, contributed to the work. The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Federation for Aging Research.

Note to editors: Abstract follows

“Neural development is dependent on the function of specificity protein 2 in cell cycle progression”

Authors: Huixuan Liang, Guanxi Xiao, Haifeng Yin, Jonathan M. Horowitz and H. Troy Ghashghaei, NC State University; Simon Hippenmeyer, Institute of Science and Technology, Klosterneuburg, Austria

Published: Development

Abstract:
Faithful progression through the cell cycle is crucial to the maintenance and developmental potential of stem cells. Here, we demonstrate that neural stem cells (NSCs) and intermediate neural progenitor cells (NPCs) employ a zinc-finger transcription factor specificity protein 2 (Sp2) as a cell cycle regulator in two temporally and spatially distinct progenitor domains. Differential conditional deletion of Sp2 in early embryonic cerebral cortical progenitors, and perinatal olfactory bulb progenitors disrupted transitions through G1, G2 and M phases, whereas DNA synthesis appeared intact. Cell-autonomous function of Sp2 was identified by deletion of Sp2 using mosaic analysis with double markers, which clearly established that conditional Sp2-null NSCs and NPCs are M phase arrested in vivo. Importantly, conditional deletion of Sp2 led to a decline in the generation of NPCs and neurons in the developing and postnatal brains. Our findings implicate Sp2-dependent mechanisms as novel regulators of cell cycle progression, the absence of which disrupts neurogenesis in the embryonic and postnatal brain.

Tracey Peake | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.ncsu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How molecules teeter in a laser field
18.01.2019 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

nachricht Discovery of enhanced bone growth could lead to new treatments for osteoporosis
18.01.2019 | University of California - Los Angeles

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>