Studies in zebrafish lead to better understanding of blood formation and leukemia development
Researchers at Childrens Hospital Boston have isolated a gene responsible for making blood stem cells. The findings appear in todays issue of the journal Nature. The gene, called cdx4, is responsible for establishing the location of blood cell formation in the developing embryo. Cdx4 works by altering the expression of HOX genes, which are involved in making the body plan. Surprisingly, the authors found that overexpression of cdx4 in zebrafish embryos, or in mouse embryonic stem cells, induces the new production of early blood cells. "We have been searching for genes in the zebrafish that participate in making blood stem cells," according to lead author, Leonard Zon, MD., of Childrens Hospital Boston. "Now that we have these genes, we are one step closer to growing more blood stem cells. This will be potentially useful for patients with severe congenital anemias or bone marrow transplantation for cancer," adds Zon.
Scientists studied a mutant that had a severe anemia because it had few blood stem cells, and also had a tail defect. The zebrafish mutants generally die within seven to ten days after fertilization. They discovered the mutation in the cdx4 gene, which is associated with the early blood deficiency as well as abnormal developmental patterning, including aberrant hox gene expression. When researchers injected the mutants with hox genes, such as hoxb7a and hoxa9a, it resulted in almost complete rescue of the deficient blood cells. Another hox gene, hoxb6b showed some improvement, but hoxb8a did not have any effect on the blood defect. Researchers believe this shows blood cell development is dependent on the proper expression of these hox genes, and that overexpression of these genes can reverse a fatal deficiency in these blood cells. "These zebrafish findings will allow us to better understand normal blood development, with the hopes of eventually developing more effective treatments for these devastating blood disorders such as leukemia," says Zon.
Mary-Ellen Shay | EurekAlert!
Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences