Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Master Gene Behind Blood Vessel Development Found

Date:
February 6, 2009
Source:
University of Minnesota
Summary:
In a first of its kind discovery, researchers have identified the "master gene" behind blood vessel development.

In a first of its kind discovery, University of Minnesota researchers have identified the "master gene" behind blood vessel development. Better understanding of how this gene operates in the early stages of development may help researchers find better treatments for heart disease and cancer.

Using genetically engineered mice, researchers with the University of Minnesota Medical School's Lillehei Heart Institute were able to identify a protein, Nkx2-5, which activates a certain gene, and in turn, determines the fate of a group of cells in a developing embryo.

"If we can understand the mechanism, or how certain stem cells choose a particular path, we can alter it to prevent or treat disease," said Daniel Garry, M.D., Ph.D., lead researcher, executive director of the institute, and chief of the cardiovascular division in the Department of Medicine. "This gene discovery provides the key to unlocking the secret of how blood vessels grow."

Researchers knew that certain precursor cells, or progenitor cells, become the three types of cells that make up the cardiovascular system: smooth muscle, endothelial (blood vessel), and cardiac muscle. What they didn't know, until now, is how those progenitor cells end up as one type or another. Garry likened the team's discovery to finding the recipe of how certain cells become blood vessels.

By understanding how the cells develop, Garry said they will be able to study how they might modify the gene to create a desired response.

"Next we are looking at how we could over-express the gene or knock it down," he said.

For example, in the case of heart disease or heart failure, they may be able to "turn on" the gene to make it create new, healthy blood vessels. Or, in the case of cancer, they could turn off the gene to limit blood supply to a tumor, causing it to shrink.

The research, which appeared in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the March of Dimes.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Minnesota. "Master Gene Behind Blood Vessel Development Found." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090204140628.htm>.
University of Minnesota. (2009, February 6). Master Gene Behind Blood Vessel Development Found. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090204140628.htm
University of Minnesota. "Master Gene Behind Blood Vessel Development Found." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090204140628.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. 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