Navigation Links
Weizmann Institute scientists discover how an injured embryo can regenerate itself
Date:6/26/2008

More than 80 years have passed since the German scientist Hans Spemann conducted his famous experiment that laid the foundations for the field of embryonic development. After dividing a salamander embryo in half, Spemann noticed that one half specifically, the half that gives rise to the salamander's 'belly' (ventral) starts to wither away. However, the other 'back' (dorsal) half that develops into its head, brain and spinal cord, continues to grow, regenerating the missing belly half and develops into a complete, though be it smaller, fully functional embryo. Spemann then conducted another experiment, where this time, he removed a few cells from the back half of one embryo and transplanted them into the belly half of a different embryo. To his surprise, this gave rise to a Siamese twin embryo where an extra head was generated from the transplanted cells. Moreover, although the resulting embryo was smaller than normal, all its tissues and organs developed in the right proportions irrespective of its size, and functioned properly. For this work, Spemann received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1935.

But how does this happen? How exactly is the half embryo able to maintain its tissues and organs in the correct proportions despite being smaller than a normal sized embryo?

Despite many years of research, this question has remained unanswered until now. More than 80 years since Spemann's classic experiment, Profs. Naama Barkai, Benny Shilo and research student Danny Ben-Zvi of the Weizmann Institute of Science's Molecular Genetics Department, together with Prof. Abraham Fainsod of the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Medicine, Jerusalem, have finally discovered the mechanisms involved.

Previous studies have shown that the growth and development of cells and organs within the embryo is somehow linked to a special group of substances called morphogens. These morphogens are produced in one particular area within the embryo and then spread throughout the entire embryo in varying concentrations. Scientists then began to realize that the fate of embryo cells, that is to say, the type of tissue and organ they are eventually going to develop into, is determined by the concentration of morphogen that they come into contact with. But this information does not answer the specific question as to how proportion is maintained between organs?

The idea for the present research came about when Weizmann Institute scientist Prof. Naama Barkai and her colleagues developed a mathematical model to describe interactions that occur within genetic networks of an embryo.

The data ascertained from this model suggest that the way morphogens spread throughout the embryo in different concentrations is different than previously thought. The team predicts that an inhibitor molecule, which is secreted from a localized source at one side of the embryo and can bind the morphogen, acts as a type of ferry that 'shuttles' the morphogen to the other side. Therefore, the mathematical model suggests that it is the interactions between the two substances that enable the embryo to keep the relative proportion between organs constant, irrespective of its size. Indeed, these predictions have been validated by experiments conducted on frog embryos by the research team.

The importance of the role of these morphogenic substances, as well as their mechanism of action, is evident by the fact that they have been conserved throughout evolution, where different variants can be found to exist in species ranging from worms to fruit flies and up to higher species including humans. Therefore, understanding the processes that govern embryonic cell development could have many implications. For example, it may lead, in the future, to scientists being able to repair injured tissues.


'/>"/>

Contact: Yivsam Azgad
news@weizmann.ac.il
972-893-43856
Weizmann Institute of Science
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Weizmann Institute scientists develop a new approach to treating autoimmune disease
2. Weizmann Institute scientists produce the first smell map
3. 3rd Annual Conference on Pain Jointly Sponsored By Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and MediCom Worldwide, Inc.
4. New White Paper from The Beryl Institute: Mystery Shopping the Patient Experience
5. Memory Pharmaceuticals Closes Second Tranche of Equity Financing with The Stanley Medical Research Institute
6. Leading Performance-Enhancing Drug Research Institute Anti-Doping Research (ADR) Establishes Nonprofit Status
7. The Montreal Heart Institute presents findings on congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation
8. Plexus Online Enables Business-Government-Academic Collaboration for Advanced Technology Institute
9. China Sky One Medical, Inc. Research Center Recognized by Heilongjiang Science and Technology Institute
10. CVS Caremark to Present Insights on Redefining the Consumer Health Care Experience at AHIP Institute 2008
11. Ethisphere Institute Names SCA to List of Top Ethical Companies
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Weizmann Institute scientists discover how an injured embryo can regenerate itself
(Date:1/18/2017)... , ... January 18, 2017 , ... ... asset protection and financial planning services to families and business owners in the ... aimed at supporting children with developmental disabilities. , The Lakemary Center is a ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... Staefa, Switzerland (PRWEB) , ... January 18, 2017 ... ... will for the first time support an aid project with the donation of ... will get the gift of hearing and thus a fair chance of leading ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... , ... January 17, 2017 , ... Anesthesia Progress ... for dentists to choose the best drug option for each patient. Dentists have several ... and better overall outcomes. , Researchers from the Tokyo Dental College in Tokyo, Japan ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... Healthful Balance ... The company, owned and operated by Ed Stroup, was created to offer the ... the highest level of customer service. Healthful Balance products can be purchased online ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... ... as Palm Desert, is opening a new office in San Clemente, California this ... stimulation (dTMS) in Southern California, successfully treating individuals struggling with major depression. Depression ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)... In China , we say Health is ... China,s Healthy Strategy originates. 2016 is ... and Social Development of the People,s Republic of ... council of the People,s Republic of China ... plan, identifying medical devices as one of the main breakthrough ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... 2017 Ximbio, a non-profit online one-stop-shop ... has opened its first North American headquarters in Kendall Square, ... ... Ximbio following its launch in October 2014 as a business ... commercialization arm of the foundation Cancer Research UK. ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... Regulatory Authority Chinese Food and Drug Administration CSL ... Flanders Institute Food and Drug Administration FORT ... Glaxo Smith Klein GlaxoWellcome Global ... Japan Immune Targeting Systems Indian Association ... oxford Johnson & Johnson Krka Pharmaceuticals ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: