The protein YAP plays a crucial role in the development of the human neural crest
To grow or to specialise? To remain stationary or initiate migration? How do cells know what to do and how they should develop? The Hippo/YAP signalling pathway plays a crucial role when the cells of the neural crest – a structure that generates cell types such as bones and nerve tissue – specialise for a certain function in the human embryo and migrate to their target region within the body.
That is what the researchers Alexandra Larisa Condurat, Dr. Christopher J. Hindley, Vishal Menon, Dr. Jan Pruszak and Ria Thomas from the University of Freiburg have shown in a study that has been published in the open access journal „Scientific Reports“.
The team’s insights are relevant for an enhanced understanding of neural crest developmental processes and associated disorders, such as neurocristopathies. They may also further elucidate cellular processes that cause cancers such as neuroblastoma or that enable cells to integrate local signals from their environment.
Human embryological development requires a strict sequence of tightly coordinated processes that are regulated by complex signalling networks. Early on in vertebrate ontogenesis, the neural crest arises – a cell population that generates an unrivalled diversity of cell types including bone, cartilage, smooth muscle and nerve tissues.
Originating from the back of the tube-like structure that will give rise to the spinal cord and brain, the neural crest cells change their morphology, eventually detach from their origin and, further specialising, migrate to their various target regions within the body. The Hippo/YAP signalling pathway integrates local signals from its environment to regulate proliferation, that is cell growth, in a variety of stem cell and tissue systems including skin, intestine and liver.
The researchers from the University of Freiburg have analysed in human stem cells and cancer cell lines the role that the Hippo/YAP signalling pathway plays in the differentiation and development of the human neural crest. They found that YAP is associated with the neural cells’ stemness and is preventing their development into specialised cells. The scientists have furthermore observed another cell population that is characterised by a high activity of YAP. In this population, the combination of molecules at the cell surface is altered. A metabolite of vitamin A, retinoic acid, is known for influencing neural crest cells. As the researchers have shown in cell models, YAP and retinoic acids are jointly promoting neural crest migratory properties.
Jan Pruszak is a member of the Cluster of Excellence BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies at the University of Freiburg, as well as a junior group leader in the Emmy-Noether-Program of the German Research Foundation at the Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Freiburg. Alexandra Larisa Condurat, Vishal Menon und Ria Thomas belong to Pruszak’s research group and are graduate students at the Spemann Graduate School of Biology and Medicine. Christopher Hindley was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation during his stay in the Pruszak lab. He is now at the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute of Cancer and Developmental Biology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge/United Kingdom.
Christopher J. Hindley, Alexandra Larisa Condurat, Vishal Menon, Ria Thomas, Luis M. Azmitia, Jason A. Davis, Jan Pruszak (2016). The Hippo pathway member YAP enhances human neural crest cell fate and migration. Scientific Reports 6. doi: 10.1038/srep23208
Dr. Jan Pruszak
Department of Molecular Embryology
University of Freiburg
Phone: +49 (0)761 / 203 - 5121
Rudolf-Werner Dreier | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences