Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A Wandering Eye: Single Cells Come Running To Form An Eye

Date:
August 27, 2006
Source:
European Molecular Biology Laboratory
Summary:
Eyes are among the earliest recognisable structures in an embryo; they start off as bulges on the sides of tube-shaped tissue that will eventually become the brain. Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg have now discovered that cells are programmed to make eyes early in development and individually migrate to the right place to do so. The study, published in this week's issue of Science, overturns the textbook model of the process.

The development of the eyes in Medaka fish over time seen through a confocal microscope. Eye cells are labelled in green, brain cells in red.
Credit: Image courtesy of European Molecular Biology Laboratory

Eyes are among the earliest recognisable structures in an embryo; they start off as bulges on the sides of tube-shaped tissue that will eventually become the brain. Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg have now discovered that cells are programmed to make eyes early in development and individually migrate to the right place to do so.

The study, published in the journal Science, overturns the textbook model of the process and suggests that also other organs might be formed by the movement of single cells rather than sheets of entire tissues.

Jochen Wittbrodt and his lab at EMBL made the discovery using advanced microscope techniques to track individual cells in the transparent embryos of a small fish called Medaka.

"You can think of the tube as a deflated balloon shaped like a Mickey Mouse," Wittbrodt says. "As the fish grows, the eyes gradually bulge out from the tube, the way Mickey Mouse ears expand as a balloon is filled with air. Most scientists have thought that cells in the neighbouring regions grow to make the bulges. What we've seen is that individual cells migrate to this area from the central region of the tube -- as if to make ears, tiny rubber particles had to fly out from the air inside the balloon."

In 2001, Felix Loosli from Wittbrodt's laboratory discovered a protein called Rx3 that is required for eye formation. Only cells that will become the eye begin producing this molecule early on in development. Martina Rembold, also from Wittbrodt's group, labeled these cells with a fluorescent marker and tracked them using advanced software developed by Richard Adams at the University of Cambridge. Following the cells required recognizing them under the microscope and assembling tens of thousands of images into 3D movies.

"Rx3 plays a crucial role in giving the cells their identity and telling them where to go," says Rembold. "Normally, single cells migrate actively and one-by-one from the centre of the brain to form eyes. But in strains of fish that have no Rx3, no eyes develop and the cells remain inside the brain, because nothing tells them to migrate to the right place."

In the embryo the paths for cell movements are signposted by cues that by attracting or repelling different types of cells guide them into the right direction. Thanks to Rx3 eye cells prefer the cues guiding the way to the eye field. Following them the cells migrate individually against the stream of brain cells that are repelled by the same signal. Without Rx3 eye cells lose their preference and follow the bulk of brain cells into the other direction.

Many other organs are thought to form when sheets of nearby cells expand to form new shapes. The current study suggests that individual cell migration might be a more common phenomenon than scientists have suspected.

"We know that cell migration is important in the formation of many other organs, such as the heart," Wittbrodt says. "We'd like to understand how tissues originate and how cells move in the early embryo and to decipher the cues that tell them where to go. This approach of tracking individual cells will help us to understand these processes better."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Molecular Biology Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Molecular Biology Laboratory. "A Wandering Eye: Single Cells Come Running To Form An Eye." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060824222623.htm>.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory. (2006, August 27). A Wandering Eye: Single Cells Come Running To Form An Eye. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060824222623.htm
European Molecular Biology Laboratory. "A Wandering Eye: Single Cells Come Running To Form An Eye." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060824222623.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) 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:
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