Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Discover Key to Cell Specialization

14.11.2011
Researchers at then Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have uncovered a mechanism that governs how cells become specialized during development. Their findings could have implications for human health and disease and appear in the November 10 online edition of the journal Cell.

A fundamental question in biology is how a fertilized egg gives rise to many different cells in the body, such as nerve, blood and liver. By providing insight into that process, known as differentiation, the findings by the Einstein researchers are relevant to cancer, stem cell research and regenerative medicine.

The scientists studied cell differentiation in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. They found that cell specialization depends on a pair of proteins that act as super regulators of proteins that were already known—one super-regulating protein encouraging a cell to differentiate and the other trying to hold back the process.

The research was conducted by senior author Nicholas Baker, Ph.D., professor of genetics, of developmental and molecular biology, and of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Einstein, and graduate student Abhishek Bhattacharya, the paper’s lead author. They studied Helix-Loop-Helix proteins, “master-regulating” proteins that were known to play a role in the differentiation of fruit fly cells such as muscle, fat and nervous-system cells. By examining eye development in the fruit fly, they found that these master-regulating Helix-Loop-Helix proteins are in turn controlled by “super-regulating” proteins that bind with them.

Successful cell differentiation requires the presence of both master-regulating and super-regulating proteins. “If you don’t turn both of those keys, cell differentiation doesn’t work properly,” said Dr. Baker.

One of these super-regulating proteins, called E-protein Daughterless (Da), binds with Helix-Loop-Helix proteins to activate them. Da also triggers expression of a protein called Extramacrochaetae (Emc), which turns the Helix-Loop-Helix proteins off. Through this feedback-loop mechanism, Da and Emc allow Helix-Loop-Helix proteins to function during specific times during fruit-fly development to create the fly’s specialized cells.

Similar findings seem to apply to the Helix-Loop-Helix proteins that are present in human cells, where they are involved in cancer as well as in the differentiation of stem cells into specialized tissues. “We would expect that there will be people in the stem cell field that would be quite interested in what we have found,” Dr. Baker said.

The paper is titled “A network of broadly-expressed HLH genes regulates tissue-specific cell fates.” This research was supported in part by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, and Research to Prevent Blindness.

About Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is one of the nation’s premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2010-2011 academic year, Einstein is home to 724 M.D. students, 256 Ph.D. students, 122 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and 375 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has 2,770 fulltime faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2009, Einstein received more than $135 million in support from the NIH. This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Through its extensive affiliation network involving five medical centers in the Bronx, Manhattan and Long Island – which includes Montefiore Medical Center, The University Hospital and Academic Medical Center for Einstein – the College of Medicine runs one of the largest post-graduate medical training programs in the United States, offering approximately 150 residency programs to more than 2,500 physicians in training. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu.

Kim Newman | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.einstein.yu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Machine learning microscope adapts lighting to improve diagnosis
20.11.2019 | Duke University

nachricht The neocortex is critical for learning and memory
20.11.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Small particles, big effects: How graphene nanoparticles improve the resolution of microscopes

Conventional light microscopes cannot distinguish structures when they are separated by a distance smaller than, roughly, the wavelength of light. Superresolution microscopy, developed since the 1980s, lifts this limitation, using fluorescent moieties. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have now discovered that graphene nano-molecules can be used to improve this microscopy technique. These graphene nano-molecules offer a number of substantial advantages over the materials previously used, making superresolution microscopy even more versatile.

Microscopy is an important investigation method, in physics, biology, medicine, and many other sciences. However, it has one disadvantage: its resolution is...

Im Focus: Atoms don't like jumping rope

Nanooptical traps are a promising building block for quantum technologies. Austrian and German scientists have now removed an important obstacle to their practical use. They were able to show that a special form of mechanical vibration heats trapped particles in a very short time and knocks them out of the trap.

By controlling individual atoms, quantum properties can be investigated and made usable for technological applications. For about ten years, physicists have...

Im Focus: Images from NJIT's big bear solar observatory peel away layers of a stellar mystery

An international team of scientists, including three researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), has shed new light on one of the central mysteries of solar physics: how energy from the Sun is transferred to the star's upper atmosphere, heating it to 1 million degrees Fahrenheit and higher in some regions, temperatures that are vastly hotter than the Sun's surface.

With new images from NJIT's Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO), the researchers have revealed in groundbreaking, granular detail what appears to be a likely...

Im Focus: New opportunities in additive manufacturing presented

Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden demonstrates manufacturing of copper components

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Dresden has succeeded in using Selective Electron Beam Melting (SEBM) to...

Im Focus: New Pitt research finds carbon nanotubes show a love/hate relationship with water

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are valuable for a wide variety of applications. Made of graphene sheets rolled into tubes 10,000 times smaller than a human hair, CNTs have an exceptional strength-to-mass ratio and excellent thermal and electrical properties. These features make them ideal for a range of applications, including supercapacitors, interconnects, adhesives, particle trapping and structural color.

New research reveals even more potential for CNTs: as a coating, they can both repel and hold water in place, a useful property for applications like printing,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

High entropy alloys for hot turbines and tireless metal-forming presses

05.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

The neocortex is critical for learning and memory

20.11.2019 | Life Sciences

4D imaging with liquid crystal microlenses

20.11.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Walking Changes Vision

20.11.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>