Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Study Resolves The Mysterious Origin Of Merkel Cells

Date:
October 3, 2009
Source:
Rockefeller University Press
Summary:
A new study resolves a 130-year-old mystery over the developmental origin of specialized skin cells involved in touch sensation.

Merkel cells (red) fail to differentiate from epidermal stem cells in mouse skin lacking Atoh1 (right).
Credit: Van Keymeulen, A., et al. 2009. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200907080.

A new study resolves a 130-year-old mystery over the developmental origin of specialized skin cells involved in touch sensation.

First described in 1875, Merkel cells are neuroendocrine cells that reside in the vertebrate epidermis, passing mechanical stimuli on to sensory neurons. In mice, they are mainly found in the paws and around the whiskers but, because they express proteins characteristic of both epithelial and neuronal cells, scientists have long debated whether Merkel cells develop from the epidermis or neural crest.

Van Keymeulen et al. traced the lineage of Merkel cells by fluorescently labeling cells derived from either epidermal or neural crest progenitors. This revealed that Merkel cells originally emerge from the embryonic epidermis. In addition, epidermal stem cells in adult mouse skin replenish the Merkel cell population as they slowly die off over time. The researchers also found that a transcription factor called Atoh1 is required for epidermal progenitors to differentiate into Merkel cells—mice lacking Atoh1 in their skin failed to develop any of the mechanotransducing cells.

Atoh1 acts as a tumor suppressor to prevent an aggressive skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma, says senior author Cιdric Blanpain. His team now wants to investigate the precise function of the transcription factor in Merkel cell differentiation, as well as the signaling pathways that regulate the process.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Van Keymeulen, A., et al. Epidermal progenitors give rise to Merkel cells during embryonic development and adult homeostasis. J. Cell Biol, DOI: 10.1083/jcb.200907080

Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University Press. "New Study Resolves The Mysterious Origin Of Merkel Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090928095204.htm>.
Rockefeller University Press. (2009, October 3). New Study Resolves The Mysterious Origin Of Merkel Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090928095204.htm
Rockefeller University Press. "New Study Resolves The Mysterious Origin Of Merkel Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090928095204.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

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
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) — The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) — A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. 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