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Study: Well-known protein helps stem cells become secretory cells

very early in development."

In order for any gene's instructions to be used to make a protein, the process of reading the instructions is jump-started by proteins called transcription factors. In the salivary gland, the researchers found two of these proteins that controlled secretory gene expression in the salivary gland: CrebA (Cyclic-AMP response element binding protein A) and Fkh (Fork head).

CrebA is required for the expression of the secretory genes throughout development, while Fkh appears to be required only in later embryonic stages. The group has shown that Fkh is required to maintain expression of CrebA in the salivary gland. "CrebA is the more immediate factor involved in keeping secretory genes expressed at high levels, and Fork head acts through it," said Andrew.

CrebA's role in the fruit fly's epidermis gives it secretion-promoting powers there as well, the researchers note. In fruit flies, epidermal cells secrete the cuticle, a protective covering for the organism.

"Our findings suggest that this single transcription factor directly determines the amount of secretory activity in a given cell type," said Andrew.


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Source:Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions


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