Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Merkel Cell Originates From Skin, Not The Neural Crest

Date:
October 7, 2009
Source:
Case Western Reserve University
Summary:
Researchers have found that Merkel cells originate in the skin, not the neural crest lineage, as previously speculated.

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine assistant professor of pediatrics, neurosciences and otolaryngology, Stephen M. Maricich, M.D., Ph.D., and his team found that Merkel cells originate in the skin, not the neural crest lineage, as previously speculated.

The study, "Mammalian Merkel Cells are Descended from the Epidermal Lineage", was recently published in the online version of Developmental Biology and is slated its future print edition.

"Merkel cells," discovered by Friedrich Sigmund Merkel in 1875, are found in multiple regions of the skin and make contact with specialized never fibers, participating in the perception of touch.

"A real mystery surrounding Merkel cells was their developmental site of origin. Conflicting evidence suggested that these cells arose from either the skin or neural crest lineages, but there was no definitive proof of either origin," said lead author, Dr. Maricich.

Using genetically engineered mouse lines, the researchers were able to delete Atoh1, a gene essential to the formation of Merkel cells, from different areas of developing embryos. This "conditional deletion" of Atoh1 in the neural crest did not affect the Merkel cell population, however using this same technique in the skin lineage resulted in the loss of all Merkel cells.

"Knocking out Atoh1 in the neural crest line caused other problems for developing embryos, but Merkel cells were completely unaffected. However, loss of Atoh1 expression in the skin deleted all the Merkel cells," said Dr. Maricich. "This showed us that we had specifically targeted the Merkel cells and that Atoh1 expression by skin cells is necessary to their development."

The researchers also fate mapped the cells, a technique used to trace developmental fates of embryonic tissues. This analysis further supported their conditional knockout findings.

"The techniques used in this study will help neuroscientists to further explore the function of Merkel cells, including the behavioral consequences when only Merkel cells have been deleted," said Ellen Lumpkin, Ph.D., a study co-author and assistant professor of neuroscience, molecular physiology and biophysics and molecular and human genetics at the Baylor College of Medicine.

"It is thought that Merkel cells give rise to Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare but aggressive form of skin cancer that responds poorly to current treatments," said Dr. Maricich. "In addition to solving a 130 year-old mystery, our data may be relevant to the understanding of Merkel cell carcinoma, and may provide important clues in the search for novel therapeutic targets."

Funding for this study came from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Both are of the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Case Western Reserve University. "Merkel Cell Originates From Skin, Not The Neural Crest." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091002132348.htm>.
Case Western Reserve University. (2009, October 7). Merkel Cell Originates From Skin, Not The Neural Crest. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091002132348.htm
Case Western Reserve University. "Merkel Cell Originates From Skin, Not The Neural Crest." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091002132348.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2014) A 9-year-old Michigan boy was exploring a creek when he came across a 10,000-year-old tooth from a prehistoric mastodon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. 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