Navigation Links
Neural stem cell gene plays crucial role in eye development

Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have demonstrated that normal development of the eye requires the right amount of a neural stem cell gene be expressed at the right time and place.

Neural stem cells are cells that can differentiate into different cell types in the nervous system. In the developing eye, retinal neural stem cells differentiate to form the neurons of the adult eye and form the optic nerve.

Led by Dr. Larysa H. Pevny, an assistant professor of genetics in the UNC School of Medicine, researchers discovered that expression levels of a particular neural stem cell gene, SOX2, are a critical factor that regulates the differentiation of neural stem/progenitor cells in the eye.

Their work appears in the current edition of the journal Genes & Development.

The SOX2 gene is a member of class of master genes that encode for transcription factors. Transcription factors are proteins that bind to DNA and regulate the expression of other genes

The investigators discovered that, in mice, disruption of the SOX2 gene in neural retinal stem cells leads to a kind of abnormal development of the eye called microphtalmia, or small eye. Approximately 10 percent of all human cases of microphtalmia result from mutations in the SOX2 gene.

Moreover, this study indicates that the degree to which SOX2 gene is disrupted dictates the severity of this condition.

"We found that even a reduction in normal SOX2 levels causes problems in these mice and this mimics the problems seen in humans," said Pevny.

The scientist pointed out that the problem in eye development in these mice results from loss of SOX2 mediated maintenance of the neural progenitor cell population in the eye.

According to Pevny, the study demonstrates that normal development of the eye is contingent upon having the right amount of SOX2, expressed at the right time and place. "Too little SOX2 expression results in the neural stem cell pool to aberrantly differentiate into neurons during development," Pevny said. "This disrupts the normal maintenance of the stem cell pool in the eye and disrupts the whole developmental process."

A complete loss of SOX2 expression in neural retinal progenitor cells results in the loss of the ability to either differentiate into neurons, or stay in the pluripotent state. In the pluripotent state, the cells are constantly replenished, but each cell retains the ability to differentiate into different cell types. This loss results in a block in eye formation in mice.

The manuscript also describes that one of the genes that SOX2 controls is Notch1, and loss of regulation of this gene is what is partially responsible for abnormal development of the eye. Notch1 is expressed in several other stem cell/progenitor populations. Therefore, SOX2 may play an important role in maintaining these populations as well.

In addition to highlighting a role for SOX2 in normal eye development, Pevny also stressed that this study illustrates the power of mouse genetics. "Right now, we are only in the hypothetical stage of therapeutic application of this work, but we finally have the genetic tools to actually test our hypothesis."

Other authors that contributed to the study are members of the UNC Neuroscience Center and department of genetics: Dr. Olena Taranova, a former UNC graduate student in neurobiology, now a postdoctoral scientist in the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center; Dr. Scott T. Magness, a postdoctoral scientist; B. Matthew Fagan, research technician; Dr.Yongquin Wu, director of the In Situ Hybridization Core Facility at the UNC Neuroscience Center; and Scott R. Hutton and Natalie Surzenko, graduate research assistants in the UNC Neurobiology Curriculum.

This work is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Christopher Reeves Paralysis Foundation


'"/>

Source:University of North Carolina School of Medicine


Related biology news :

1. Neural stem cells lend the brain a surprising capacity for self-repair
2. Neural networking nanotubes
3. Neural bottleneck found that thwarts multi-tasking
4. White blood cell waste disposal system plays critical regulatory role
5. Micro-molecule plays big role in birth defects
6. Sleeping beauty plays a significant role in identifying cancer genes
7. Got inexpensive contrast agent? Milk plays new role in imaging
8. Zinc plays important role in brain circuitry
9. Fish species plays surprise role in aiding coral reef recovery
10. Anticipation plays a powerful role in human memory, brain study finds
11. Motor protein plays key role in connecting neurons
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 Infosys ... (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung SDS, a global ... that will provide end customers with a more secure, fast ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ) , ... but it also plays a fundamental part in enabling and ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... , April 15, 2016  A new partnership ... more accurate underwriting decisions in a fraction of ... competitively priced and high-value life insurance policies to ... With Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, ... data readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has completed a ... Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned to the company ... technical leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, John ... Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of Software and Informatics, ... Dr. Bready served as CEO of Nabsys ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Global demand ... 4.6 percent through 2020 to $7.2 billion.  This ... and beverages, cleaning products, biofuel production, animal feed, ... biotechnology, diagnostics, and biocatalysts). Food and beverages will ... driven by increasing consumption of products containing enzymes ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Newly created ... services and solutions to the healthcare market. The company's primary focus is on ... sales and marketing strategies that are necessary to help companies efficiently bring their ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... DIEGO , June 24, 2016 ... more sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors ... circulating tumor cells (CTCs). The new test has ... HRD-targeted therapeutics in multiple cancer types. ... targeting DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016   Boston Biomedical , an industry ... to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that its ... Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug ... including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is an ... cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: