Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wisconsin Scientists Find A Gene That Controls Organ Shape

Date:
June 10, 1999
Source:
University Of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary:
Growing complete organs in the laboratory, a longstanding dream of biomedical science, is one key step closer to reality as a team of Wisconsin scientists report the discovery of a genetic mechanism that gives organs their shape.

MADISON - Growing complete organs in the laboratory, a longstanding dream of biomedical science, is one key step closer to reality as a team of Wisconsin scientists report the discovery of a genetic mechanism that gives organs their shape.

Related Articles


Writing in the Thursday, June 10, edition of the scientific journal Nature, a team of scientists from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison describe a protein that regulates organ shape in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.

The finding is important for two reasons, said Judith E. Kimble, an HHMI investigator, UW-Madison professor of biochemistry and co-author of the Nature report. "One reason is that very little is known about how organs are shaped and this is one of the first molecules that can be manipulated to change organ shape at will," she said. "The second is that one of the mammalian counterparts of this organ-controlling protein may be involved in the spread of cancer cells."

The grail of growing human organs for transplant in a laboratory dish is still a distant prospect. But with the new discovery of an organ-shaping protein, and the gene that makes the protein, a key step in the process of how nature organizes an ambiguous mass of cells into a complex organ has been identified.

Working in the microscopic worm C. elegans, a workhorse of modern biology, Kimble and Robert H. Blelloch, a doctoral and medical student in Kimble's lab, found that a protein, dubbed GON-1, is responsible for shaping the gonad, an intricate reproductive organ.

In early development, gonads form from a grouping of four specialized cells that grow into an organ. They accomplish the task with the help of a specialized "leader cell" whose job is to set up the polarity and shape of the organ, Kimble said.

The leader cell is located at the tip of an arm of accumulating cells that migrate into the U-shaped gonad organ. In the Wisconsin study, the making of the GON-1 protein was found to be a key function of the leader cells that directed the growth of the organ.

Although the new research was conducted in one organ in a microscopic worm, Kimble said there is a good possibility that the same organ-orchestrating mechanism is common to other organs in most other animals. And with the advent of human stem cell technology in the past year, the chance that scientists might one day be able to coax cells in a dish to grow into entire organs is now enhanced.

Moreover, the discovery of the organ-shaping protein, Kimble added, yields an important clue to how cancer may spread because similar proteins may be involved in shepherding cancerous cells from a tumor to other parts of the body. When cancer spreads or metastasizes in the body, prospects for recovery are grim.

Kimble said knowing how the protein works may enable the development of inhibitors that could slow or stop the spread of cancerous cells in cancer patients.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Wisconsin-Madison. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Wisconsin-Madison. "Wisconsin Scientists Find A Gene That Controls Organ Shape." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 June 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990610074159.htm>.
University Of Wisconsin-Madison. (1999, June 10). Wisconsin Scientists Find A Gene That Controls Organ Shape. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990610074159.htm
University Of Wisconsin-Madison. "Wisconsin Scientists Find A Gene That Controls Organ Shape." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990610074159.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
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