Navigation Links
Scientists identify gene crucial to normal development of lungs and brain
Date:1/12/2012

La Jolla ---- Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified a gene that tells cells to develop multiple cilia, tiny hair-like structures that move fluids through the lungs and brain. The finding may help scientists generate new therapies that use stem cells to replace damaged tissues in the lung and other organs.

"Cells with multiple cilia play a number of important roles, including moving fluids through the respiratory tract, brain and spinal cord," says Christopher R. Kintner, a professor in Salk's Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, who led the research. "Knowing the gene that instructs cells to develop multiple cilia helps us understand how we might coax stem cells into developing into this type of cell, which we could then use to repair damaged tissue."

The findings of the research, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health and Salk's Innovation Grants Program, were published in the January 8 online issue of Nature Cell Biology.

Kintner and his collaborator, Jennifer Stubbs, a scientist now at Pathway Genomics, a San Diego biotech company, along with Eszter Vladar, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Jeffery Axelrod, at the Stanford University School of Medicine, made their discovery by initially studying the embryos of African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis).

Multiciliate cells form on the outside of the embryos, making them easy to study, and the genetic mechanisms that direct the frog cells to develop multiple cilia are likely similar to those of humans.

Humans and other organisms inherited cilia from our single-celled primordial ancestors that used these beating structures as a form of propulsion. Most cells in our body project a single, non-moving cilium used as a tiny antenna for detecting chemical and physical stimuli. But certain specialized tissues require cells with 100 to 200 moving cilia that beat in concert to move fluids through the body.

These cells aid in pushing cerebrospinal fluid through the brain and spinal cord, helping to circulate and replenish this fluid. In the respiratory system, the cilia push mucus that traps dust, pathogens and other foreign matter from the lung up into the trachea, helping prevent infections.

In a previous study, published in Nature Genetics, Kintner and Stubbs identified a protein, FoxJ1, that promoted the formation of a single moving cilium. What remained unclear is how certain cells activate FoxJ1 in a way that leads to the formation of hundreds of motile cilia per cell.

In their new study, Kintner and his collaborators identified a gene that produces a second protein, which they dubbed "multicilin," that tells cells to develop multiple cilia. When cells are exposed to multicilin, their genetic mechanisms for developing multiple cilia are activated. In a developing embryo, the protein instructs certain stem cells that will line the lungs, kidney and skin to develop into multiciliate cells.

When the researchers inhibited multicilin's action, the frogs' skin and kidney failed to form multiciliate cells. The scientists also found that multicilin is both necessary and sufficient to instruct the development of multiple cilia in cells that line the airways of mice.

"This means that multicilin directs the development of these cells in a number of different organs," Kintner says. "How multiciliate cells develop had been a mystery, but this fills in a big piece of the puzzle."

Kintner notes that patients with respiratory diseases such as chronic asthma, emphysema and cystic fibrosis often suffer from lung infections, which may result from damage to the ciliated cells that move protective mucus out of the airways. In the future, stem cell therapies might replace those damage cells with new ciliated cells, but first scientists need to know how to guide stem cells along a pathway into multiciliate cells.

"Our findings suggest that multicilin could be central to differentiating stem cells into replacement cells," Kintner says. "It's a necessary step in developing such therapies."


'/>"/>

Contact: Andy Hoang
ahoang@salk.edu
619-861-5811
Salk Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Scientists look to microbes to unlock Earths deep secrets
2. Nobel history illustrates gap in grants to young scientists
3. Damon Runyon grants Fellowship and Breakthrough Scientist awards to 21 top young scientists
4. UCSB scientists say topography played key role in Deepwater Horizon disaster
5. Illinois scientists link dietary DHA to male fertility
6. Scientists refute Greenpeace claim that genetically modified corn caused new insect pest
7. Scientists characterize protein essential to survival of malaria parasite
8. University scientists aiding fishermen in butterfish conundrum
9. Salk scientists map the frontiers of vision
10. UGA scientists hijack bacterial immune system
11. Scripps Research scientists discover a brain cell malfunction in schizophrenia
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Scientists identify gene crucial to normal development of lungs and brain
(Date:4/28/2016)... Sweden , April 28, 2016 First ... M (139.9), up 966% compared with the first quarter of 2015 ... profit totaled SEK 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin ... 7.12 (loss: 0.32) Cash flow from operations was SEK ... The 2016 revenue guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their ... , The analysts forecast the global ... of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... , April 15, 2016  A new ... make more accurate underwriting decisions in a fraction ... timely, competitively priced and high-value life insurance policies ... screenings. With Force Diagnostics, rapid testing ... lifestyle data readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... In a new case report published today in STEM CELLS ... developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from an injection of stem ... with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. , Lymphedema refers ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to identifying, protecting ... has closed its Series A funding round, according to ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis Fund that ... meet our current goals," stated Matthew Nunez . ... complete validation on the current projects in our pipeline, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, the ... the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% lower to finish ... 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated coverage on the following equities: Infinity ... NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... ). Learn more about these stocks by accessing their free ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Prairie, WI (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 ... ... consultancy focused on quality, regulatory and technical consulting, provides a free webinar ... is presented on July 13, 2016 at 12pm CT at no charge. , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: