Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mystery of symmetry in vertebrates revealed

Date:
March 11, 2010
Source:
CNRS
Summary:
Some of our organs, such as the liver and the heart, are lateralized. As our bodies develop they mostly display bilateral symmetry across the vertebral column. A new molecular pathway, which plays a role in this symmetry in vertebrates, has recently been discovered.

Some of our organs, such as the liver and the heart, are lateralised. As our bodies develop they mostly display bilateral symmetry across the vertebral column. A new molecular pathway, which plays a role in this symmetry in vertebrates, has recently been discovered by a Franco-American team led by Olivier Pourquiι at the Stowers Institute for Medical research, who moved a short while ago to the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology (CNRS / Inserm / University of Strasbourg).

This work was published February 18, in Nature.

Vertebral symmetry appears early in the course of embryonic development, at the time when somites are formed. Somites are cubic shaped structures from which the vertebrae and the muscles, in particular, are derived. Under the influence of an internal clock, pairs of somites develop, in a periodic manner, starting from the internal cellular layers of the embryo. Retinoic acid, a derivative of vitamin A, appears to play a significant role in controlling the symmetry of the somites. Moreover, it is known that semitogenesis becomes desynchronised in mice which are deficient in retinoic acid.

In a study performed on mouse embryos, the researchers investigated the Rere protein, also known as atrophin 2. They showed that this molecule participates in the activation of the signalling pathway for retinoic acid by forming a complex with two other proteins, Nr2f2 and p300, and a retinoic acid receptor. Mice mutated for the Rere gene show the same retarded somite formation as mice which are deficient in retinoic acid.

Their work also showed that the proteins, Nr2f2 and Rere, control the asymmetry of the signalling pathway for retinoic acid. This asymmetry is required to correct interference with the signals which determine the lateralisation of organs. Hence, this study improves our understanding of how the general symmetry of the body can be reconciled with the lateralisation of some organs.

In man, the anomalies in symmetric development of the somites could be responsible for vertebral symmetry disorders such as scoliosis. A defect in the regulation of functions performed by RERE or Nr2f2 on the retinoic acid signalling pathway may be implicated in the occurrence of these frequent, and sometimes acute, diseases.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Gonηalo C. Vilhais-Neto et al. Rere controls retinoic acid signalling and somite bilateral symmetry. Nature, February 2010

Cite This Page:

CNRS. "Mystery of symmetry in vertebrates revealed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100226204549.htm>.
CNRS. (2010, March 11). Mystery of symmetry in vertebrates revealed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100226204549.htm
CNRS. "Mystery of symmetry in vertebrates revealed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100226204549.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) — An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) — Gertjie the Rhino and Lammie the Lamb are teaching the world about animal conservation and friendship. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has the adorable video! Video provided by Buzz60
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