Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How The Body Determines Where Organs Are Placed

Date:
January 9, 2004
Source:
Salk Institute
Summary:
A Salk Institute team of biologists, mathematicians, and physicists has uncovered a novel paradigm for cell communication that provides new insights into the complex question of how the body determines where organs are placed.

La Jolla, Calif. -- A Salk Institute team of biologists, mathematicians, and physicists has uncovered a novel paradigm for cell communication that provides new insights into the complex question of how the body determines where organs are placed.

The study focused on a fundamental question: how the body tells left from right. Although humans look fairly symmetric on the outside, their inner organs are placed quite asymmetrically; for example, the heart points to the left and the liver lies to the right side.

"We know that in the phase of development, there is a genetic cascade that leads to the proper placement of organs. If that cascade is disrupted, the results can lead to major problems or be fatal," said Salk Professor Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, who published the findings in the January 8 issue of Nature. Still, scientists did not have a clear understanding of what triggers the genetic cascade that defines organ placement. Izpisúa Belmonte's group focused on the activity of the Notch pathway, an important player during embryo development and also during tumorigenesis, and a key factor for proper left-right asymmetry, as the same group and others had learned earlier this year.

"We knew that Notch activity was necessary for the normal, left-sided expression, but we were clueless as to what was activating Notch preferentially on the left side," said Angel Raya, lead author of the paper. "We examined several factors known to participate early in the establishment of the left-right axis, but none was responsible for what we were seeing."

Izpisúa Belmonte and his team characterized a highly complex chain of events leading to Notch activation, and resorted to mathematics to model the dynamics of this process. The model allowed the team to perform thousands of experiments in the computer (simulations), and pinpoint the factors most likely to regulate Notch activity in the specific fashion seen in the embryo.

"The model pointed in the direction of extracellular calcium, and we were absolutely thrilled when we visualized that, indeed, extracellular calcium accumulated normally on the left side of the embryo. The mathematical model that we developed saved us years of bench work and led to new insights about a biological problem," said Izpisúa Belmonte. "We are very excited about this multidisciplinary approach to biology, and we believe that collaborative approaches between biologists, mathematicians, and physicists working together will lead to long-term breakthroughs in biological research."

###

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, located in La Jolla, Calif., is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to fundamental discoveries in the life sciences, the improvement of human health and conditions, and the training of future generations of researchers. The Institute was founded


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Salk Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Salk Institute. "How The Body Determines Where Organs Are Placed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040109065110.htm>.
Salk Institute. (2004, January 9). How The Body Determines Where Organs Are Placed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040109065110.htm
Salk Institute. "How The Body Determines Where Organs Are Placed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040109065110.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) — Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nigeria Ups Ebola Stakes on 1st Death

Nigeria Ups Ebola Stakes on 1st Death

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) — Nigerian authorities have shut and quarantined a Lagos hospital where a Liberian man died of the Ebola virus, the first recorded case of the highly-infectious disease in Africa's most populous economy. David Pollard reports Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Running 5 Minutes A Day Might Add Years To Your Life

Running 5 Minutes A Day Might Add Years To Your Life

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — According to a new study, just five minutes of running or jogging a day could add years to your life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Poses Little Threat To U.S.: CDC

Ebola Outbreak Poses Little Threat To U.S.: CDC

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — The Ebola outbreak in West Africa poses little threat to Americans, according to officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 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:
from the past week

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