Navigation Links
Case Western Reserve University discovers Merkel cell originates from skin, not the neural crest
Date:10/2/2009

CLEVELAND October 2, 2009 Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine assistant professor of pediatrics, neurosciences and otolaryngology, Stephen M. Maricich, M.D., Ph.D., and his team found that Merkel cells originate in the skin, not the neural crest lineage, as previously speculated.

The study, "Mammalian Merkel Cells are Descended from the Epidermal Lineage", was recently published in the online version of Developmental Biology and is slated its future print edition.

"Merkel cells," discovered by Friedrich Sigmund Merkel in 1875, are found in multiple regions of the skin and make contact with specialized never fibers, participating in the perception of touch.

"A real mystery surrounding Merkel cells was their developmental site of origin. Conflicting evidence suggested that these cells arose from either the skin or neural crest lineages, but there was no definitive proof of either origin," said lead author, Dr. Maricich.

Using genetically engineered mouse lines, the researchers were able to delete Atoh1, a gene essential to the formation of Merkel cells, from different areas of developing embryos. This "conditional deletion" of Atoh1 in the neural crest did not affect the Merkel cell population, however using this same technique in the skin lineage resulted in the loss of all Merkel cells.

"Knocking out Atoh1 in the neural crest line caused other problems for developing embryos, but Merkel cells were completely unaffected. However, loss of Atoh1 expression in the skin deleted all the Merkel cells," said Dr. Maricich. "This showed us that we had specifically targeted the Merkel cells and that Atoh1 expression by skin cells is necessary to their development."

The researchers also fate mapped the cells, a technique used to trace developmental fates of embryonic tissues. This analysis further supported their conditional knockout findings.

"The techniques used in this study will help neuroscientists to further explore the function of Merkel cells, including the behavioral consequences when only Merkel cells have been deleted," said Ellen Lumpkin, Ph.D., a study co-author and assistant professor of neuroscience, molecular physiology and biophysics and molecular and human genetics at the Baylor College of Medicine.

"It is thought that Merkel cells give rise to Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare but aggressive form of skin cancer that responds poorly to current treatments," said Dr. Maricich. "In addition to solving a 130 year-old mystery, our data may be relevant to the understanding of Merkel cell carcinoma, and may provide important clues in the search for novel therapeutic targets."


'/>"/>

Contact: Christina DeAngelis
cat41@case.edu
216-368-3635
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. NOAA awards funds to improve toxic algal bloom predictions in the Western Gulf of Mexico
2. Prestigious $4.9 million NIH grant awarded to Case Western Reserve for colon cancer research
3. Ice cream may target the brain before your hips, UT Southwestern study suggests
4. UT Southwestern researchers examine mechanisms that help cancer cells proliferate
5. Case Western Reserve University researcher demonstrates that messenger RNA are lost in translation
6. Case Western Reserve University receives $4M from the NIBIB
7. Honey bee health of concern at Western Apicultural Society conference
8. New dinosaur species possible in Northwestern Alberta
9. UT Southwestern researchers probe kidney damage, protection in lupus
10. GSA special paper presents new studies of Western US earth motion
11. Case Western Reserve University engineers hit pay dirt with clay mixture
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/3/2017)... , Feb. 3, 2017 A new independent ... Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) . Designed to fill a ... complex identity market, founding partners Mark Crego ... combined years just in identity expertise that span federal ... non-profit leadership. The Crego-Kephart combined expertise has a common ...
(Date:2/2/2017)...  Central to its deep commitment to honor ... Japan Prize Foundation today announced the laureates of ... envelope in their respective fields of Life Sciences ... being recognized with the 2017 Japan Prize for ... to the advancement of science and technology, but ...
(Date:1/30/2017)... --  Invitae Corporation (NYSE: NVTA ), ... announced that it will report its fourth quarter and ... Monday, February 13, 2017, and Invitae,s management team will ... Eastern / 1:45 p.m. Pacific. During ... results, guidance, and recent developments and will spend the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/17/2017)...  If only one in every hundred cells ... to chemotherapy, thousands of cancer cells would remain ... finding these mutations in ever-smaller subpopulations of tumor ... in blood — to guide treatment decisions and ... however, detecting these genetic anomalies may be more ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... ... ... EIT Digital has launched work to develop a new Smart IOT ... to get under way for the framework, which is designed to reduce the use ... to be transferred eventually to other industries that also require efficient IoT and management ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... and GREENWICH, Conn. , ... investment firm focused on venture growth investments in ... of Josh Richardson , M.D. to Managing ... in biotechnology companies.  He is a board observer ... roles in Longitude,s investments in Aimmune Therapeutics, Akebia ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... Feb. 16, 2017 Research and ... Biology: Global Markets" report to their offering. ... ... genes, biobrick parts, delivery plasmids, chassis organisms, synthetic cells, ... assembly, genome editing, bioinformatics and specialty media) and enabled ...
Breaking Biology Technology: