Navigation Links
Genetic 'conductor' involved with new brain cell production in adults
Date:6/29/2011

A team of North Carolina State University researchers has discovered more about how a gene connected to the production of new brain cells in adults does its job. Their findings could pave the way to new therapies for brain injury or disease.

Most areas of the brain do not generate new brain cells, or neurons, after we are born. One exception is the olfactory bulb, the brain's scent processor, which continually produces new neurons. Dr. Troy Ghashghaei, assistant professor of neurobiology, had previously found a gene known as Foxj1connected to the production of an area inside the olfactory bulb where stem cells could form. Ghashghaei and his team discovered that Foxj1 was an "off switch" that told neuronal stem cells to stop reproducing and triggered the development of a stem cell "niche" in the olfactory bulbs.

However, further experiments with newly developed genetically modified mice unexpectedly revealed that a fraction of Foxj1-expressing cells actually functioned as stem cells. But they only did so until the mouse reached the age equivalent of a human toddler, not throughout adulthood. In addition, the number of neurons generated by these cells was much lower than expected, which led to more questions about its function.

"Essentially, the experiments we did weren't giving us the numbers of neurons from Foxj1-expressing stem cells that we expected. We could have gotten disappointed with what may have been perceived as a road-block in our findings" says Ghashghaei. "If the gene was one that stem cells had to express in order to produce neurons, then we should have seen a greater number of neurons produced from the Foxj1-expressing stem cells. Instead, only about three percent of the olfactory neurons came from the Foxj1 stem cells. More importantly, we could not identify these unique neurons as belonging to known types of neurons in the olfactory system."

These findings and subsequent experimentation helped the team discover that in addition to being an off switch, the Foxj1 cellular lineage (i.e., Foxj1 expressing cells and their descendents) performs an important function as a "conductor," instructing the other stem cells in the olfactory bulb by secreting various molecules that affect the other stem cells' behavior and ensure their correct development into neurons. So a small number of Foxj1-expressing cells and their neuronal offspring direct other stem cells to continue reproducing, and may be telling them when to become functionally integrated neurons.

The research appears in the Journal of Neuroscience. Graduate students Benoit Jacquet, Huixuan Liang, and Guanxi Xiao, together with postdoctoral fellows Nagendran Muthusamy and Laura Sommerville contributed to the work.

"This finding is important because for the most part our brains cannot generate new neurons, nor can we efficiently use transplanted neurons to repair damage," Ghashghaei says. "Foxj1 expressing cells and their neurons seem to support zones within the brain where new neurons are created and integrated into existing neural circuits. If we can find out how to put these 'conductor' cells into other areas of the brain such as the spinal cord, it may lead to new cell-based therapies.

"This project took us on a roller-coaster ride but the ending is a testament to the power of creative thinking and persistence in scientific inquiry an achievement of which the clever and hardworking graduate students and postdoctoral fellows working on the problem should be very proud."

Ghashghaei's research is funded by the NIH and the American Federation for Aging Research. The Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences is part of NC State's College of Veterinary Medicine.


'/>"/>

Contact: Tracey Peake
tracey_peake@ncsu.edu
919-515-6142
North Carolina State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Genetic testing for inherited cardiac conditions is patchy in Europe
2. Genome editing, a next step in genetic therapy, corrects hemophilia in animals
3. New curation tool a boon for genetic biologists
4. First genetic mutation linked to heart failure in pregnant women
5. Family genetic research reveals the speed of human mutation
6. Researchers improve method for finding genetic mistakes that fuel cancer
7. Penn researchers show new evidence of genetic arms race against malaria
8. Genetics of melanoma chemoresistance
9. USC researchers discover genetic mutation causing excessive hair growth
10. DTC genetic tests neither accurate in their predictions nor beneficial to individuals
11. The importance of inner values -- female sparrows test the genetic make-up of their mates
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/4/2017)...  GCE Solutions, a global clinical research organization (CRO), announces the ... on October 4, 2017. Shadow is designed to assist medical writers ... 0070 of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in meeting the requirements ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ITHACA, N.Y. , June 23, 2017 ... a leader in dairy research, today announced a new ... help reduce the chances that the global milk supply ... this dairy project, Cornell University has become the newest ... Food Supply Chain, a food safety initiative that includes ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... SINGAPORE , May 5, 2017 ... has just announced a new breakthrough in biometric ... that exploits quantum mechanical properties to perform ... new smart semiconductor material created by Ram Group ... across finance, entertainment, transportation, supply chains and security. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... it will be hosting a Webinar titled, “Pathology is going digital. Is your ... on digital pathology adoption best practices and how Proscia improves lab economics and ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Tampa Bay, Florida (PRWEB) , ... October 11, ... ... Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug designation to SBT-100, its ... antibody (sdAb) for the treatment of osteosarcoma. SBT-100 is able to cross the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... DALLAS , Oct. 10, 2017 International research firm ... IoT Strategy, will speak at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , ... key trends in the residential home security market and how smart safety ... ... "The ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... , ... October 09, 2017 , ... The award-winning American ... broadcast first quarter 2018. American Farmer airs Tuesdays at 8:30aET on RFD-TV. , ... faced with the challenge of how to continue to feed a growing nation. At ...
Breaking Biology Technology: