Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Experiencing the world through the neurons of Math1

06.10.2005


Close your eyes and imagine you are in a darkened Carnegie Hall. Although it’s pitch black, you know you are getting closer to the stage as the music gets louder. If you have been there before, you have a sense of the location of the seats and aisles. You remain upright because you somehow know where your legs, arms and feet are. Your head remains upright.



A variety of neurons or nerve cells makes it possible for you to approach the stage and even find a seat without sight. Several of those neurons migrate from an embryonic structure called the rhombic lip, and many of these in the auditory, vestibular and proprioreceptive (sense of position in space) systems come into being because of a single gene called Math1, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in a report in the current issue of the journal Neuron.

"These three systems all seem to have a similar function. They all help us coordinate body perception and movement in space. Now we know that one gene specifies the majority of these neurons – that this one gene has been conserved during evolution to execute this task, said Dr. Huda Zoghbi, BCM professor of pediatrics and molecular and human genetics as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.


Zoghbi led the team that found the Math1 gene a few years ago and at that time, determined that it was important for the formation of hair cells in the inner ear and some neurons in the cerebellum and intestine.

Now, mouse studies carried out by her and two graduate students, Matthew Rose and Vincent Y. Wang, demonstrate that Math1 plays a pivotal role in the formation of many of the neurons important in carrying hearing and vestibular and balance signals after they have been received and transmitted by the inner ear hair cells. The gene also specifies neurons that coordinate balance of body parts.

These nerve cells all arise in the rhombic lip,an embryonic structure not known to produce some of these various neurons previously, said Rose.

"Here is a neuronal network that coordinates many different types of sensations, and Math1 is required for many components of it," said Zoghbi. "It is involved in the formation of many neurons that form key hubs for these senses. This is really very interesting. When one thinks of genes, one thinks of them specifying certain type of cells, but here is a gene that specifies many different types of cells in a network designed to help us keep our balance find our position in space both by being aware of the position of our body parts and by hearing."

In a more prosaic sense, "this is the gene that make the neurons you use when you get up in the night to get a drink of water and manage to do so in the dark" said Rose.

Ross Tomlin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bcm.tmc.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | 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

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>