Navigation Links
'Cellular antennae' on algae give clues to how human cells receive signals

By studying microscopic hairs called cilia on algae, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found that an internal structure that helps build cilia is also responsible for a cell's response to external signals.

Cilia perform many functions on human cells; they propel egg and sperm cells to make fertilization possible, line the nose to pick up odors, and purify the blood, among other tasks.

With such a range of abilities, cilia serve as both motors and "cellular antennae," said Dr. William Snell, a professor of cell biology at UT Southwestern and senior author of new research on cilia published in the May 5 issue of Cell.

Genetic defects in cilia can cause people to develop debilitating kidney disease or to be born with learning disabilities, extra fingers or toes, or the inability to smell.

But no one really knows how cilia work, or, in some parts of the body, what their function is.

"There are cilia all over within our brain, and we don't have a clue about what they're doing," Dr. Snell said.

He and his team use the microscopic green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, which has two individual cilia. This alga allows researchers to manipulate genes and study the resulting effects on cilia in a way that would be impossible in animals such as mice.

"Chlamy is one of the few model organisms in which it's possible to do these kinds of studies," Dr. Snell said.

Normally, cilia ?also called flagella ?are built and maintained by an internal bidirectional, escalator-like system that ferries molecules to and from the tips by a process called intraflagellar transport, or IFT.

The UT Southwestern researchers used a mutant temperature-sensitive strain of the alga that behaved normally at lower temperatures. At higher temperatures, however, the IFT process stopped, and its components disappeared from the cilia. The cilia themselves were still able to beat, or move back and forth, for about 40 m inutes before they began to shorten.

The team focused on fertilization of the alga, a process that requires a cilium to bind to a molecule on a cilium from a cell of the opposite mating type. They found that when the external molecule binds to a cilium, it activates an enzyme that signals the start of a chain of chemical reactions.

Although the cilia could move without IFT and bind to the molecules of the cilia of the opposite type, those cells were unable to respond to the signaling molecules. The failure to activate the chain of chemical reactions indicated that IFT was necessary for this function.

Analysis showed that the cilia signaling process was similar to that found in human cells, such as those in the nose involved in the sense of smell and those in the developing nervous system that sculpt our brains.

Uncovering this series of reactions will make it possible to test, for instance, drugs that can affect cilia, in the hope of finding substances that would also be effective in higher animals, Dr. Snell said.

"This is another example of how basic science research can have big results," he said. "Studies on Chlamydomonas will help us understand the unique qualities of cilia that have led to their use in chemosensory pathways in humans."


'"/>

Source:UT Southwestern Medical Center


Related biology news :

1. Evidence of 600-million-year old fungi-algae symbiosis discovered in marine fossils
2. Deep sea algae connect ancient climate, carbon dioxide and vegetation
3. The secret life of algae
4. A new male-specific gene in algae unveils an origin of male and female
5. Detecting microalgae in coastal waters
6. Chemicals in brown algae may protect against skin cancer
7. Florida Tech explores microalgae for biofuel
8. Common algae helps illustrate mammalian brain electrical circuitry
9. Insight into DNAs weakest links may yield clues to cancer biology
10. High-powered gene profiles provide clues to genes involved in common form of lung cancer
11. Genetic links could unlock clues to leading cause of blindness
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/11/2016)... 2016 http://www.apimages.com ) - --> ... available at AP Images ( http://www.apimages.com ) - ... to produce the new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG will be unveiling ... in Hanover next week.   --> ... used to produce the new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG will be ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... 9, 2016 This BCC Research report provides ... the RNA Sequencing (RNA Seq) market for the years ... tools and reagents, data analysis, and services. ... the RNA-Sequencing market such as RNA-Sequencing tools and reagents, ... factors affecting each segment and forecast their market growth, ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... , March 3, 2016  FlexTech, a SEMI Strategic ... of Innovation, Research & Development, Leadership in Education, and, ... is the 9 th year of the FLEXI ... companies and individuals from past years . Judging ... a pre-described set of criteria, by a panel of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... NEW YORK , April 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... biotechnology acceleration company reports the Company,s CEO  was ... capital titled Accelerators Enter When VCs Fear To ... Life Science Leader magazine is an ... work for everything from emerging biotechs to Big ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... Morris Midwest ( ... for regional manufacturers at its Maple Grove, Minnesota technical center, May 11-12. ... and Trumpf. Almost 20 leading suppliers of tooling, accessories, software and other ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... Touch screen mobile devices with fingerprint recognition for secure access, voice recognition ... only a few ways consumers are interacting with biometrics technology today. But ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ROCHELLE, VIRGINIA (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2016 ... ... announced today that Jon Clark has joined the company as an Expert Consultant. ... was responsible for industry collaborations and managing the development of small molecule monographs ...
Breaking Biology Technology: