Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery Of 'Creator' Gene For Cerebral Cortex Points To Potential Stem Cell Treatments

Date:
January 18, 2008
Source:
University of California - Irvine
Summary:
Researchers have identified a gene that is specifically responsible for generating the cerebral cortex, a finding that could lead to stem cell therapies to treat brain injuries and diseases such as stroke and Alzheimer's.

Cerebral cortex model.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of California - Irvine

University of California, Irvine researchers have identified a gene that is specifically responsible for generating the cerebral cortex, a finding that could lead to stem cell therapies to treat brain injuries and diseases such as stroke and Alzheimer's.

Dr. Edwin Monuki, doctoral student Karla Hirokawa and their colleagues in the departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Developmental & Cell Biology found that a gene called Lhx2 serves as the long-sought cortical "creator" gene that instructs stem cells in the developing brain to form the cerebral cortex. This portion of the brain is responsible for higher sensory and cognitive functions, such as language, decision-making and vision. Without this gene, cortical cells will not form.

"This new understanding of Lhx2's role in cortical development can potentially be used in stem cell research efforts to grow new cortical neurons that can replace damaged ones in the brain," said Monuki, an assistant professor of pathology. "This finding has implications for continuing efforts to help people recover from a stroke or slow the progress of neurodegenerative diseases."

Lhx2 is among a group of genes -- called selector genes -- that act during key moments of embryonic and fetal development, directing stem cells to grow into specific parts of the body -- such as brain, blood and bone.

In tests on rodents, the researchers found that Lhx2's cortical selector activity is critical only during the stage when the developing cortex is made up of stem cells, not before or after. In addition, they found that cortical stem cells that don't express the Lhx2 gene turn into a different cell type -- called a hem cell -- that induces neighboring cells to become the hippocampus, the oldest part of the cortex in evolutionary terms and a major memory center of the brain.

Lhx2's role in cerebral cortex development has far-reaching implications in the nascent field of stem cell research. The Monuki lab is currently studying how to activate Lhx2 genes in neural stem cells and initiate the process in which new cortical cells can grow. "If successful, the concept of using Lhx2 to instill stem cells with cortical properties could be a basis of clinical studies that could one day help treat patients," he said.

Researchers in Monuki's lab are deeply involved with stem cell research. Last month, they published a study identifying a new way to sort stem cells that should be quicker, easier and more cost-effective than current methods. The technique could in the future expedite therapies for people with conditions ranging from brain and spinal cord damage to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Results of this study appear in the Jan. 18 issue of Science.

Co-authors of the Science study are Shubha Tole, Vishakha Mangale, Prasad Satyaki, Nandini Gokulchandran, Satyadeep Chikbire, Lakshmi Subramanian, Ashwin Shetty, Ben Martynoga and Jolly Paul of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, India; Lisa Flanagan of UC Irvine; Mark Mai of Swarthmore College; and Yuqing Li of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The National Institutes of Health, the Whitehall Foundation and the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation provided funding support.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "Discovery Of 'Creator' Gene For Cerebral Cortex Points To Potential Stem Cell Treatments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080117140837.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2008, January 18). Discovery Of 'Creator' Gene For Cerebral Cortex Points To Potential Stem Cell Treatments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080117140837.htm
University of California - Irvine. "Discovery Of 'Creator' Gene For Cerebral Cortex Points To Potential Stem Cell Treatments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080117140837.htm (accessed October 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 18, 2014) Researchers at The National University of Singapore have invented a new microneedle patch that could offer a faster and less painful delivery of drugs such as insulin and painkillers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) The first nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas hospital walked down the stairs of an executive jet into an ambulance at an airport in Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday. Pham will be treated at the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) A Caribbean cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who is being monitored for signs of the Ebola virus is heading back to Texas, US, after being refused permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) All four suspected Ebola cases admitted to hospitals in Spain on Thursday have tested negative for the deadly virus in a first round of tests, the government said Friday. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
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