The dawn of the Animal Kingdom began with a collagen scaffold that enabled the organization of cells into tissues.
This key innovation, which made possible the rich diversity of life on earth, is found in the most ancient of currently living animals - the ctenophore, Vanderbilt University Medical Center scientists report today in the online journal eLife.
Ctenophores, commonly called comb jellies, are marine invertebrates known for their translucent, globe-like bodies that refract light into dazzling rainbow-like colors.
They have one thing in common with all animals - rope-like collagen IV molecules that assemble into scaffolds outside of the cell. These "smart" scaffolds are the fundamental architectural unit of the basement membrane, which, in turn, connects cells, provides strength to tissues and transmits information that influences how cells behave
Understanding how collagen IV scaffolds bridged the transition from unicellular to multicellular animal life sheds light on diseases as diverse as kidney failure and cancer, said senior author Billy Hudson, Ph.D., the Elliott V. Newman Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
"The fundamental principles of tissue development are present in ancient animals," Hudson said. "You can study them in a very simple way. It sets us up to develop a deeper understanding of tissue biology and the cause of a multitude of diseases."
The search for the evolutionary beginning of collagen IV scaffolds began in the Hudson lab in 2009 with help from high school students and college undergraduates who participated in the AspirnautTM summer research program. The team analyzed tissues from creatures as ancient as sponges and comb jellies.
"We found that among all the collagens that make up the human body, collagen IV was the key innovation enabling single-celled organisms to evolve into multicellular animals," said first author Aaron Fidler, a graduate student mentored by Hudson.
Fidler, who will defend his Ph.D. dissertation this summer, described collagen IV as a kind of molecular "glue" that ultimately enabled the formation of tissues and organs.
"Our findings pose questions about how collagen IV glues cells together, and how information is stored in the rope-like scaffolds to influence cell behavior," Hudson said. "That information is the foundation for understanding defects in disease and development of new therapies."
Others contributing to the paper were Antonis Rokas, Ph.D., Julie Hudson, M.D., Jay Jerome, Ph.D., Kyle Brown, Ph.D., Sergei Chetyrkin, Ph.D., Carl Darris, Ph.D., Vadim Pedchenko, Ph.D., and Sergey Budko, Ph.D.
Craig Boerner | EurekAlert!
Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides
16.07.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology
The secret sulfate code that lets the bad Tau in
16.07.2018 | American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.07.2018 | Life Sciences
16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences