Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How do neural stem cells decide what to be -- and when?

Date:
December 9, 2010
Source:
Duke University Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers have uncovered a novel feedback mechanism that controls the delicate balance of brain stem cells. Zif, a newly discovered protein, controls whether brain stem cells renew themselves as stem cells or differentiate into a dedicated type of neuron (nerve cell).

Researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore have uncovered a novel feedback mechanism that controls the delicate balance of brain stem cells.

Zif, a newly discovered protein, controls whether brain stem cells renew themselves as stem cells or differentiate into a dedicated type of neuron (nerve cell).

In preclinical studies, the researchers showed that Zif is important for inhibiting overgrowth of neural stem cells in fruit flies (genus Drosophila) by ensuring that a proliferation factor (known as aPKC) maintains appropriate levels in neural stem cells.

"There is a Zif-related protein in humans, and its function remains to be analyzed," said senior and corresponding author Hongyan Wang, Ph.D. "Our finding has paved the way for future study of this human protein in the context of diseases, including glioblastomas, the most severe form of brain tumors."

She said it may be "possible to manipulate Zif function into a form of therapy against diseases, including cancer."

The study was published in the Nov. 16 issue of Developmental Cell journal.

The findings suggest that a lack of Zif protein expression correlates with neural stem cell overpopulation in Drosophila.

The mechanism is circular: Zif is a transcription factor that inhibits the manufacture of aPKC. But Zif can also be tagged with a phosphate by aPKC, which excludes Zif from the cell nucleus, and leads to Zif inactivation, which in turn means an overgrowth of stem cells.

"Next, we would like to investigate the mechanisms of neural stem cells' self-renewal in mammals, and we are looking for the right collaborators," Wang said. "We will also continue to use Drosophila as a powerful model system to uncover critical players in neural stem cell self-renewal so that we can understand the network involved in this regulation."

Other authors on the paper included four co-lead authors, Kai Chen Chang and Gisela Garcia Alvarez of the Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorder Program at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School; Gregory Somers of the Department of Genetics, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS), La Trobe University, in Australia; and Rita Sousa-Nunes of the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, in London. Fabrizio Rossi is from the Cell Division Group, IRB-Barcelona, PCB, in Barcelona, Swee Beng Soon is also with Duke-NUS Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorder Program, and Cayetano Gonzalez is with both the Cell Division Group, IRB-Barcelona, and the Institucio Catalana de Recera Estudis Advancats in Barcelona. William Chia and Kai Chen Chang are both with the Temasek Life Science Laboratory in Singapore.

This work is supported by the Duke-NUS Neuroscience & Behavioral Disorders Signature Research Program funded by A*STAR and Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education in Singapore, and the Singapore National Research Foundation, as well as by Temasek Life Sciences funding.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Kai Chen Chang, Gisela Garcia-Alvarez, Gregory Somers, Rita Sousa-Nunes, Fabrizio Rossi, Ying Ying Lee, Swee Beng Soon, Cayetano Gonzalez, William Chia, Hongyan Wang. Interplay between the Transcription Factor Zif and aPKC Regulates Neuroblast Polarity and Self-Renewal. Developmental Cell, Volume 19, Issue 5, 778-785, 16 November 2010 DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2010.10.007

Cite This Page:

Duke University Medical Center. "How do neural stem cells decide what to be -- and when?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101115122635.htm>.
Duke University Medical Center. (2010, December 9). How do neural stem cells decide what to be -- and when?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101115122635.htm
Duke University Medical Center. "How do neural stem cells decide what to be -- and when?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101115122635.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. 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