Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lipids play important role in nervous system development

26.10.2005


Blocking a signaling lipid can keep nerves from developing the arm-like extensions they need to wire the body and may even cause neurons to die, researchers have found.



The researchers hope this piece of the puzzle of how the central nervous system develops in the first place will one day help them repair loss from injury or disease.

It’s already helped them understand the ailments of a spontaneous mouse mutant that has about 20 percent function of the protein that helps the lipid get to the cell surface so it can help axons grow, says Dr. Wen-Cheng Xiong, developmental neurobiologist and corresponding author on the study published in the November issue of Nature Cell Biology.


The mutant mouse is small and has motor neuron degeneration, with tremors, short limbs and a short life, she says. Before this new work, what the blocked lipid transfer protein regulated was still a mystery.

The lipids in question aren’t those measured during an annual physical exam, rather those that help give shape and function to units within cells such as the nucleus and cell powerhouse, or mitochondria, she says.

“Traditionally people didn’t think these lipids were regulated. They thought they were just there,” says Dr. Xiong. “But what we found is this particular lipid is regulated; it’s like a signaling molecule. Especially during axon growth, the dynamic regulation is more dramatic.”

She and her colleagues found the lipid is transferred to the cell surface at just the right time and place by phosphatidylinositol transfer protein-a, which humans also have. It’s been known that many proteins can be regulated, especially signaling proteins that enable intracellular chatter. “Now we have found this protein regulates lipids and lipids also travel,” Dr. Xiong says.

The mouse mutant is a clear example of what can happen when the lipids don’t travel. The researchers also studied a similar mutant chick embryo that had reduced axon growth. For this paper, they added the zebrafish embryo, which forms most of its major organs within the first 24 hours and remains transparent for the first few days of life, to further document the role of these regulated lipids and their transfer protein.

When they injected an agent that blocks expression of a related lipid transport protein, the next they could see the impact on axon growth and neuron survival, says Dr. David J. Kozlowski, developmental geneticist and director of the MCG Transgenic Zebrafish Core Laboratory. They looked at different levels of suppression, finding the greater the suppression, the greater the resulting defect. “It shows this protein is critical for development,” Dr. Xiong says of repeated findings.

Next they’ll use a version of the transgenic zebrafish that will enable them to watch axon development – or lack of it – in live embryos and in real time, Dr. Kozlowski says.

They also want to look at what happens to the lipid activity in an injury model. They already know some signaling proteins are disturbed.

MCG contributors included the laboratories of Drs. Xiong and Kozlowski as well as Dr. Lin Mei, program chief in Developmental Neurobiology and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Neuroscience.

Collaborating institutions include the University of Alabama at Birmingham; the Institute of Neuroscience and Key Laboratory of Neurobiology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine.

The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Toni Baker | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mcg.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens
14.08.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments
14.08.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Building up' stretchable electronics to be as multipurpose as your smartphone

14.08.2018 | Information Technology

During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>