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
Kim Newman | Newswise Science News
Nanocages in the lab and in the computer: how DNA-based dendrimers transport nanoparticles
19.10.2018 | University of Vienna
Less animal experiments on the horizon: Multi-organ chip awarded
19.10.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkstoff- und Strahltechnik IWS
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.
Silicon, a so called semiconductor, is currently widely employed for the development of components such as solar cells, LEDs or computer chips. High purity...
Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles
Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...
When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.
We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...
Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...
Das Zusammenspiel aus Struktur und Dynamik bestimmt die Funktion von Proteinen, den molekularen Werkzeugen der Zelle. Durch Fortschritte in der...
17.10.2018 | Event News
16.10.2018 | Event News
02.10.2018 | Event News
19.10.2018 | Life Sciences
19.10.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
19.10.2018 | Trade Fair News