Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How respiratory tubes and capillaries form in flies

Date:
February 9, 2010
Source:
Institute for Research in Biomedicine-IRB
Summary:
Scientists in Spain report on the formation of the small-diameter respiratory tubes of the fly Drosophila -- a process that resembles the development of the finest blood vessels, the capillaries, in mammals.

A tube-cell image. In red, the tube; in blue, the cell nuclei; in green, cell shape. (electron microscopy).
Credit: Copyright IRB Barcelona. J. Casanova

Scientists at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and CSIC report on the formation of the small-diameter respiratory tubes of the fly Drosophila -- a process that resembles the development of the finest blood vessels, the capillaries, in mammals.

These tubes or capillaries, formed by a single cell, connect the main tubes of the respiratory system with organs and tissues, thereby providing oxygen. The study has been published in the journal Current Biology, part of the Cell group.

Jordi Casanova, professor at CSIC who heads a developmental biology group at IRB Barcelona, addresses the gene expression that leads to the formation of different parts of an organism. Revealing how respiratory tubes develop in Drosophila is relevant because the genes and mechanisms involved are very similar to those present in the mammalian respiratory and circulatory systems. "Our study explains the formation of the smallest tubes that develop to transport nutrients and oxygen to tissues," says Casanova.

Capillary formation is tightly linked to the development of tumours since these have the capacity to generate new capillaries to obtain more nutrients, in a process known as angiogenesis. Indeed, one of the strategies under study to prevent tumour growth is to inhibit the formation of these supply routes.

Studying cell-to-tube transformation in vivo

The tubes measure only a few microns in diameter (one micron equals one thousandth of a millimetre) and are formed inside a cell. The lengthening of a cell and the development of a tube occur simultaneously. "If a tissue or organ requires oxygen, it sends a signal to cells in the main tube. At that point, a single cell begins to lengthen towards its target, while the tube is developing inside. It is like putting a finger into a wrinkled glove: the material stretches as the finger slides in."

In order to follow the process in vivo, the researchers have filmed the development of embryos under a microscope. "Real time observation of embryo development has allowed us to see what happens in the entire organism and to understand the interaction with neighbouring tissue. After, using molecular biology techniques, we have identified the components that participate," explains the first author of the study, Louis Gervais, postdoctoral fellow in Casanova's group.

The signal that the tissue cells emit is called Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF) and the cell of the tube reacts by activating the Serum Response Factor (SRF), which is the same gene that is active in the capillaries of the circulatory system in mammals.

"We have discovered how this genetic machinery acts inside the cell to ensure its reorganisation and cell-to-tube transformation," says Casanova.

The researchers have identified the two main players: actin -- a protein linked to cell movement, which is concentrated in the tip of the cell where it will begin to extend -- and microtubules, very fine fibres that anchor on one side to actin and on the other to the opposite side of the cell. The microtubule network is like rails along which the components to be incorporated travel both to the outer membrane of the cell and the inner membrane of the tube so that both grow, while actin acts as an explorer, indicating the direction of growth. Thus, the actin and microtubule conjunction organises the lengthening of the cell and tube growth towards the target tissue.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute for Research in Biomedicine-IRB. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Louis Gervais and Jordi Casanova. In Vivo Coupling of Cell Elongation and Lumen Formation in a Single Cell. Current Biology, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.12.043

Cite This Page:

Institute for Research in Biomedicine-IRB. "How respiratory tubes and capillaries form in flies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100208144627.htm>.
Institute for Research in Biomedicine-IRB. (2010, February 9). How respiratory tubes and capillaries form in flies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100208144627.htm
Institute for Research in Biomedicine-IRB. "How respiratory tubes and capillaries form in flies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100208144627.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 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


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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