Navigation Links
Researchers find gene critical for development of brain motor center
Date:6/20/2014

Ottawa June 20, 2014 In a report published today in Nature Communications, an Ottawa-led team of researchers describe the role of a specific gene, called Snf2h, in the development of the cerebellum. Snf2h is required for the proper development of a healthy cerebellum, a master control centre in the brain for balance, fine motor control and complex physical movements.

Athletes and artists perform their extraordinary feats relying on the cerebellum. As well, the cerebellum is critical for the everyday tasks and activities that we perform, such as walking, eating and driving a car. By removing Snf2h, researchers found that the cerebellum was smaller than normal, and balance and refined movements were compromised.

Led by Dr. David Picketts, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, the team describes the Snf2h gene, which is found in our brain's neural stem cells and functions as a master regulator. When they removed this gene early on in a mouse's development, its cerebellum only grew to one-third the normal size. It also had difficulty walking, balancing and coordinating its movements, something called cerebellar ataxia that is a component of many neurodegenerative diseases.

"As these cerebellar stem cells divide, on their journey toward becoming specialized neurons, this master gene is responsible for deciding which genes are turned on and which genes are packed tightly away," said Dr. Picketts. "Without Snf2h there to keep things organized, genes that should be packed away are left turned on, while other genes are not properly activated. This disorganization within the cell's nucleus results in a neuron that doesn't perform very welllike a car running on five cylinders instead of six."

The cerebellum contains roughly half the neurons found in the brain. It also develops in response to external stimuli. So, as we practice tasks, certain genes or groups of genes are turned on and off, which strengthens these circuits and helps to stabilize or perfect the task being undertaken. The researchers found that the Snf2h gene orchestrates this complex and ongoing process. These master genes, which adapt to external cues to adjust the genes they turn on and off, are known as epigenetic regulators.

"These epigenetic regulators are known to affect memory, behaviour and learning," said Dr. Picketts. "Without Snf2h, not enough cerebellar neurons are produced, and the ones that are produced do not respond and adapt as well to external signals. They also show a progressively disorganized gene expression profile that results in cerebellar ataxia and the premature death of the animal."

There are no studies showing a direct link between Snf2h mutations and diseases with cerebellar ataxia, but Dr. Picketts added that it "is certainly possible and an interesting avenue to explore."

In 2012, Developmental Cell published a paper by Dr. Picketts' team showing that mice lacking the sister gene Snf2l were completely normal, but had larger brains, more cells in all areas of the brain and more actively dividing brain stem cells. The balance between Snf2l and Snf2h gene activity is necessary for controlling brain size and for establishing the proper gene expression profiles that underlie the function of neurons in different regions, including the cerebellum.


'/>"/>

Contact: Paddy Moore
padmoore@ohri.ca
613-737-8899 x73687
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. NIH awards $20 million over 5 years to train next generation of global health researchers
2. Researchers develop a new cell and animal model of inflammatory breast cancer
3. Researchers uncover a viable way for colorectal cancer patients to overcome drug resistance
4. Researchers Find Gene Mutations That May Be a Key to Autism
5. Researchers find evidence of banned antibiotics in poultry products
6. NJ stroke researchers report advances in spatial neglect research at AAN Conference
7. Autism by the numbers: Yale researchers examine impact of new diagnostic criteria
8. Researchers Map Brain Regions Linked to Intelligence
9. Researchers ID Genes That May Determine Mental Illness
10. Researchers Develop Blood Test for Depression
11. University of Cincinnati researchers win $3.7M grant from US Department of Defense
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... ... century approach to infusing high speed technology into the fabric of an entire ... the advancement of healthcare and wellness in a yet-to-be-named, health focused campus. Leading ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... 17, 2017 , ... Surgeons from New York’s fastest growing ... on the latest breakthroughs in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the most ... eye surgeon, Jeffrey Martin, MD, FACS, Chief Executive Officer of SightMD and Managing ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... SC&H Group, a leading ... a Principal in its IT Advisory Services practice . Rossi is the third ... market demand for strategic IT guidance grows, and the practice continues to expand.     , ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... York, NY (PRWEB) , ... January 17, 2017 ... ... Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing private companies and ranked among the top US security companies ... Board of Directors. This announcement brings a year-long independent board nomination process ...
(Date:1/16/2017)... , ... January 17, 2017 , ... Recently, patients and ... Southwest Michigan, joined other volunteers and organizations in support of the annual Binder Park ... and families dressed up in colorful costumes of all designs coming out to enjoy ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/17/2017)... , Jan 17, 2017 Research and ... Market by Type (Innovative, Generic), Manufacturer (Captive, Merchant), Synthesis (Synthetic, Biotech), ... - Global Forecast to 2021" report to their offering. ... The global active ... 2021 from USD 157.95 Billion in 2016, growing at a CAGR ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... 17, 2017 Immune Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ... today that it will hold a Satellite Symposium on February ... (ISAL) XVI in Munich, Germany . ... Efficacy of Immunotherapy for the maintenance of remission in ... 20 th , 2017 from 12:45 – 13:45 CET ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... PARSIPPANY, N.J. , Jan. 17, 2017 Interpace ... that provides clinically useful molecular diagnostic tests and pathology ... it has received a letter dated January 13, 2017 ... it has regained compliance with the requirement of the ... price of $1.00 per share. The letter ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: