Cells of the vascular system of vertebrates can fuse with themselves. This process, which occurs when a blood vessel is no longer necessary and pruned, has now been described on the cellular level by Prof. Markus Affolter from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel. The findings of this study have been published in the journal “PLoS Biology”.
The vascular system is the supply network of the human organism and delivers oxygen and nutrients to the last corners of the body. So far, research on the vascular system has focused primarily on the formation of such vascular networks.
Markus Affolter’s research group at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has now investigated the blood vessel pruning in the zebrafish and discovered that the cells have the ability to self-fuse at the membrane margins. Previously, it was unknown that blood vessel cells of vertebrates have this property.
Self-fusion observed in vertebrates for the first time
The formation of blood vessels follows a complicated architectural plan. “At a first glance, the plan for vascular regression seems to be the same but it must differ at the molecular level”, explains Markus Affolter. During vascular regression, most of the cells consecutively migrate and incorporate into the neighboring functional vessels.
The last single cell that remains in the pruning vessel reaches around the lumen and the membrane margins of this cell undergo fusion thus closing the vessel and assuring its tightness. This process, named cell self-fusion, ensures a controlled closure of a regressive blood vessel thus preventing blood leakage. For the first time this self-fusion of cells has been observed in vertebrates, the group humans also belong to. “Such cell behavior was so far only known in simpler organisms such as nematodes”, explains Markus Affolter.
Greater plasticity through self-fusion
During the development of the vascular network, blood vessels are constantly formed but many of them are only required temporarily. Just like a disused arm of a highly branched river, the flow of fresh blood through these vessels is interrupted and the organism begins to prune this side arm. In this way the vascular system regulates itself, optimizing its blood circulation by pruning and recycling the unnecessary vessels with reduced blood flow and blood pressure.
“This newly uncovered process is important for the understanding of blood vessel formation and regression on the cellular level, as this can also explain the extraordinary plasticity and changeability of the vascular system”, says Anna Lenard, the first author of this publication. These investigations were performed on the zebrafish, as in this almost transparent fish the development of blood vessels can be observed in the living animal using modern microscopy techniques.
Relevance of self-fusion for cancer?
“How the cell recognizes its own membrane margins and how fusion with neighboring blood vessel cells is prevented, is not yet known”, says Markus Affolter. Since a long time it has been postulated that each individual cell of an organism has its own code.
“The regression process could partly confirm this theory”, thinks Markus Affolter. Together with his team, he would like to investigate the self-fusion process more closely. As tumors require a well developed vascular system for their growth, a better understanding of the formation and regression of this network could open possibilities for the manipulation of such a system.
Anna Lenard, Stephan Daetwyler, Charles Betz, Elin Ellertsdottir, Heinz-Georg Belting, Jan Huisken, Markus Affolter:
Endothelial Cell Self-fusion during Vascular Pruning.
PLoS Biology published online 17 April 2015 | DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002126
Heike Sacher, Biozentrum Communications,Tel. +41 61 267 14 49, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org University of Basel
Heike Sacher | Universität Basel
Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View
22.06.2018 | University of Sussex
New cellular pathway helps explain how inflammation leads to artery disease
22.06.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.06.2018 | Life Sciences