Navigation Links
Brain glia cells increase their DNA content to preserve vital blood-brain barrier
Date:1/13/2012

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (January 13, 2012) The blood-brain barrier is essential for maintaining the brain's stable environmentpreventing entry of harmful viruses and bacteria and isolating the brain's specific hormonal and neurotransmitter activity from that in the rest of the body.

In addition to nerve cells, the brain contains glia cells that support and protect the neurons. In the fruit fly, the blood-brain boundary is made by glia joined into an envelope sealed around the nerve cells. As the brain rapidly expands during development, the glial envelope must grow correspondingly to remain intact. However, little has been known about how the blood-brain barrier maintains its integrity as the brain it protects develops.

Now Whitehead Institute scientists report that as the developing larval fruit fly brain grows by cell division, it instructs subperineurial glia (SPG) cells that form the blood-brain barrier to enlarge by creating multiple copies of their genomes in a process known as polyploidization. The researchers report their work this month in the journal Genes and Development.

"We think that this may be the same developmental strategy that's used in other contexts, where you need an outer layer of cells to maintain a seal, yet you also need the organ to grow during development," says Whitehead Member Terry Orr-Weaver.

Like the larval fruit fly's blood-brain barrier, cell layers in the human placenta and skin may employ polyploidization to respond to the need to expand while maintaining a sound boundary between the fetus and its surroundings, and the body and the outside world, respectively.

For preserving such barriers, polyploidy is ideal, as the cells forming the boundary enlarge without undergoing full cell division, a process that would break the tight junctions between cells.

In the larval fruit fly, polyploid SPG are necessary for maintaining the blood-brain barrier. When Yingdee Unhavaithaya, a postdoctoral researcher in Orr-Weaver's lab and first author of the Genes and Development article, prevented the SPG from making additional genome copies and becoming polyploid, the blood-brain barrier shattered as the brain continued to expand and the SPG was unable to accommodate its growth.

When allowed to progress naturally, polyploidy is flexible enough to accommodate even unusual brain expansion. After Unhavaithaya enlarged the brain by inducing a brain tumor, the SPG responded by increasing their ploidy and the blood-brain barrier remained unbroken.

This experiment also indicates that somehow the expanding brain mass is telling the SPG to increase their ploidy, but only as much as necessary to maintain the tight junctions between the SPG.

"It's a glimpse of communication between tissues during organogenesis," says Unhavaithaya. "We see different tissues trying to make a properly sized organ together. And one of the ways is by receiving instruction from the growing tissue so the other tissue can scale its size to properly conform to this tissue ratio for the organism."

For Orr-Weaver, Unhavaithaya's work could lead to additional exciting research.

"It has really opened up a whole new area to look at, so we can understand the mechanistic basis by which this communication happens," says Orr-Weaver, who is also an American Cancer Society professor of biology at MIT. "Does it happen at the organ level, or does it happen locally? There's really a lot to sort out."


'/>"/>

Contact: Nicole Giese Rura
rura@wi.mit.edu
617-258-6851
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Penn biophysicists create new model for protein-cholesterol interactions in brain and muscle tissue
2. During exercise, the human brain shifts into high gear on alternative energy
3. Millisecond brain signals predict response to fast-acting antidepressant
4. Food for thought -- regulating energy supply to the brain during fasting
5. Risk and reward compete in brain
6. Brainy genes, not brawn, key to success on mussel beach
7. Brain-nourishing molecule may predict schizophrenia relapse
8. Brain structure provides key to unraveling function of bizarre dinosaur crests
9. MU brain imaging center provides research for autism, schizophrenia and Parkinsons disease
10. Key to function of dinosaur crests found in brain structure
11. Emotion and scent create lasting memories -- even in a sleeping brain
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/15/2016)... , April 15, 2016 ... "Global Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to their ... ) , ,The global gait biometrics market ... 13.98% during the period 2016-2020. Gait ... which can be used to compute factors that ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... -- Genomics firm Nabsys has completed a financial  restructuring under ... M.D., who returned to the company in October 2015. ... including Chief Technology Officer, John Oliver , Ph.D., ... Vice President of Software and Informatics, Michael Kaiser ... Bready served as CEO of Nabsys from 2005-2014 and ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... Ontario , PROVO and ... Newborn Screening Ontario (NSO), which operates the ... for molecular testing, and Tute Genomics and UNIConnect, ... management technology respectively, today announced the launch of a ... next-generation sequencing (NGS) testing panel. NSO ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware design ... Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together inventors ... and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to identifying, ... community, has closed its Series A funding round, according ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis Fund ... to meet our current goals," stated Matthew Nunez ... to complete validation on the current projects in our ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free webinar on Performing Quality ... 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , Incomplete investigations are still ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016 Cell Applications, ... allow them to produce up to one billion ... lot within one week. These high-quality, consistent stem ... preparing cells and spend more time doing meaningful, ... a proprietary, high-volume manufacturing process that produces affordable, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: