Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NICHD Researchers Discover Gene For Major Brain Structure

Date:
May 18, 1999
Source:
NIH-National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development
Summary:
Researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) have discovered a gene that controls the development of the hippocampus, a brain structure crucial for learning and memory.

Researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) have discovered a gene that controls the development of the hippocampus, a brain structure crucial for learning and memory. The work was performed by Yangu Zhao, Ph.D., and his colleagues, of NICHD's Laboratory of Mammalian Genes and Development, led by Heiner Westphal, M.D., chief of the laboratory. The finding appears in the May 14th issue of Science.

"This work describes the function of a gene that controls the assembly of a brain structure crucial for high order mental functions," said NICHD Director Duane Alexander, M.D. "The discovery provides crucial insight into understanding the complex molecular basis of hippocampus development. Efforts of this nature may one day lead to treatments of hereditary brain disorders that affect the hippocampus."

The gene, termed Lhx5, is a member of the family of genes known as the LIM Homeobox genes, noted Dr. Westphal. Homeobox genes have changed little during the course of evolution and seem to fulfill similar functions, from roundworm to man. Essentially, these genes pave the way for developing embryo cells to later form organs and tissues.

To conduct their experiment, the researchers used a procedure known as gene knockout to inactivate the Lhx5 gene in the mouse, Dr. Westphal explained. They found that embryos lacking Lhx5 function developed a malformed hippocampus.

For this brain structure to develop normally, cells must first migrate to the correct position in the developing brain and then form the precisely ordered tissue layers of the hippocampus. In the Lhx5 knockout embryos, cells failed to migrate normally, and this resulted in a grossly distorted structure in which regular cell layers could no longer be recognized. Dr. Westphal said the layers in the normal hippocampus are analogous to patterns in the layers, or strata, seen in exposed rock formations.

"The malformation is like rock strata where some cataclysmic event has mixed up the deposits so that you no longer see any discernible layers," said Dr. Westphal.

Lhx5 knockout mice provide an exciting model to study in detail how this gene acts and how its inactivation affects hippocampus assembly and function, he added. This work is part of a concerted effort to unravel molecular mechanisms that underlie complex brain function, an effort currently under way in many laboratories.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH-National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH-National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development. "NICHD Researchers Discover Gene For Major Brain Structure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990518072923.htm>.
NIH-National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development. (1999, May 18). NICHD Researchers Discover Gene For Major Brain Structure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990518072923.htm
NIH-National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development. "NICHD Researchers Discover Gene For Major Brain Structure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990518072923.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins