Navigation Links
Master gene controls healing of skin in fruit flies and mammals

University of California, San Diego biologists and their colleagues have discovered that the genetic system controlling the development and repair of insect cuticle--the outer layer of the body surface in insects--also controls these processes in mammalian skin, a finding that could lead to new insights into the healing of wounds and treatment of cancer.

The UCSD biologists' study, published April 15 in the journal Science identifies a master gene called grainyhead that activates wound repair genes in the cells surrounding an injury in the cuticle of a fly embryo. These wound repair genes then regenerate the injured patch of cuticle.

In a separate study published in the same issue of Science, a team of researchers led by Stephen Jane at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Melbourne, Australia report that, although insect cuticle and the outer layer of mammal skin are very different chemically, the grainyhead gene is also essential for normal skin development and wound repair in mice.

"The discovery that grainyhead-like factors are required for the response to injury opens up new avenues of research in the field of wound healing," said Kimberly Mace, the first author of the UCSD paper. "It also opens new avenues for cancer research, since many cancer cells activate genes normally involved in wound healing in order to kick start processes such as cell division and cell migration."

Mace, a former graduate student of biology professor William McGinnis, who led the UCSD team, became interested in the healing of insect cuticle when she noticed lesions in the cuticle of certain fruit fly mutants. She suspected that the lesions were scar tissue resulting from the failure of the body surface barrier to develop properly. Confirming her suspicions, the mutant embryos turned out to be much more permeable to a dye than normal embryos.

The group also showed that the genes active in the mutant flies' lesions were activated in normal flies in cell s surrounding a wound created with a sterile needle. The researchers then worked backward, using bioinformatics--computational analysis of DNA sequences--to identify grainyhead as the master gene that initiates the genetic chain reaction that results in cuticle repair. Wounds in mutant flies that lack the grainyhead gene fail to heal.

"The genes involved in cuticle repair are activated very quickly, within 30 minutes after injury," said Joseph Pearson, a graduate student working under McGinnis and a coauthor of the paper. "They are activated over many cell diameters, most strongly at the boundaries of the wound, suggesting that the grainyhead gene initiates the cuticle repair response after it receives an as-of-yet unidentified signal produced in cells adjacent to the injury."

In its study, Jane's team found that, like their fruit fly counterparts, mice lacking grainyhead have a much more permeable skin than normal mice and have deficient wound repair. Both groups point out in their papers that it is interesting that the regulatory mechanisms for development and repair of the surface barrier in insects and mammals have been conserved, given the differences in the molecular composition of insect cuticle and mammal skin.

"The proteins that link together to form the insect cuticle and stratum corneum--the outer layer of mammal skin--are completely different," says McGinnis. "So it is remarkable that flies and mammals share an ancient conserved pathway to construct and repair the body envelope that protects them from sharp edges and microbes, even though that body envelope is constructed of mostly different molecules."

In their paper, the UCSD researchers state that studying the wound response pathway in fruit flies, which are easy to manipulate genetically, may provide new insight into wound healing in mammals. For example, Mace points out that very little is known how wound tissue stops its growth behavior when the wound is healed. In a ddition, cancer cells evade this "stop" program, but how they do it is not well understood.


Source:University of California - San Diego

Related biology news :

1. Master regulatory gene found that guides fate of blood-producing stem cells
2. Master genetic switch found for chronic pain
3. Master planners in brain may coordinate other areas roles in cognitive tasks
4. Master regulatory gene of epithelial stem cells identified
5. Cooperation is key—a new way of looking at MicroRNA and how it controls gene expression
6. Scientists find that protein controls aging by controlling insulin
7. MicroRNA tweaks protein that controls early heart development
8. Scientists discover gene that controls speed of tuberculosis development
9. Gene controls whether fear is a factor
10. Salk researchers make fast strides towards understanding how our body controls walking
11. Robotic joystick reveals how brain controls movement
Post Your Comments:

(Date:10/29/2015)... Va. , Oct. 29, 2015 Daon, ... today that it has released a new version of ... customers in North America have ... IdentityX v4.0 also includes a FIDO UAF certified ... are already preparing to activate FIDO features. These customers ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, Joseph ... explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, and the business ... The Internet of Healthy Things . ... smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, Connected Health, ... care delivery, moving care from the hospital or doctor,s ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 29, 2015 Today, LifeBEAM , ... with 2XU, a global leader in technical performance ... hat with advanced bio-sensing technology. The hat will ... monitor key biometrics to improve overall training performance. ... two companies will bring together the most advanced technology, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... NEW YORK , November 24, 2015 ... in a European healthcare ... in which the companies will work closely together in identifying ... of unmet medical need. The collaboration is underpinned by a ... LSP fund. This is the first investment by Bristol-Myers Squibb ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... with a certain type of lung nodule visible on lung ... cancer than men with similar nodules, according to a new ... the Radiological Society of North America ... Lung nodules are small masses of tissue in the lungs ... appearance on CT. Solid nodules are dense, and they obscure ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... Columbia, Md. (PRWEB) , ... November 23, 2015 ... ... R&D 100 award for the development of its Nexera UC Unified Chromatography system. ... the 100 most technically significant new products of the year in the analytical ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... PISCATAWAY, New Jersey , November 23, ... Centre (CCDC) announces the launch of the ... and the CSD-System, now complemented by three powerful ... support the discovery of new molecules, CSD-Materials for ... complete set of the CCDC,s applications incorporating CSD-Discovery ...
Breaking Biology Technology: