Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Modeling melanocyte differentiation in zebrafish

Date:
September 1, 2011
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Researchers have combined genetic data with mathematical modeling to provide insights into cells and how they differentiate. The findings demonstrate the utility of a systems biology approach and could have implications for understanding and treating diseases, including cancers, caused when cells start to function incorrectly.

Researchers at the University of Bath have combined genetic data with mathematical modelling to provide insights into cells and how they differentiate. The findings, to be published in open-access journal PLoS Genetics on September 1st, demonstrate the utility of a systems biology approach and could have implications for understanding and treating diseases, including cancers, caused when cells start to function incorrectly.

All cells derive from multipotent precursor cells (stem cells). The mechanisms by which stably differentiated cell-types are generated from stem cells are important to the understanding of normal development. Little is known, however, about how the switch of a stem cell to a stably differentiated state is regulated. It is likely that destabilisation of such transitions in human skin cells (melanocytes) are factors in initiating melanoma.

The research team, led by Dr. Robert Kelsh, used the model organism zebrafish to explore in vivo the gene regulatory network (GRN) that governs melanocyte differentiation. "We used our genetic data to draw an initial diagram and then applied mathematical modelling to it to assess the mathematical predictions of that diagram," explains Dr. Kelsh. "We then used existing and new experimental data to test those predictions; where necessary, we rethought our understanding of the cell and redrew the diagram. We went through this process three times, creating a more accurate picture of the cell each time." The iterative process enabled a rigorous, methodical exploration of the core melanocyte GRN, allowing the researchers to predict and subsequently validate experimentally two novel features of the GRN.

Through understanding exactly what changes take place in melanocyte development in healthy tissue and during the onset of diseases such as melanoma, scientists can work towards developing methods for potentially reversing or preventing these changes, and halting the progression of the disease.

Dr Kelsh said: "This research is an on-going collaboration between mathematical modellers and biologists. We are now looking in more detail at the core of the cell model we have come up with, and are hoping to extend the research and further develop this combined-approach technique."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Emma R. Greenhill, Andrea Rocco, Laura Vibert, Masataka Nikaido, Robert N. Kelsh. An Iterative Genetic and Dynamical Modelling Approach Identifies Novel Features of the Gene Regulatory Network Underlying Melanocyte Development. PLoS Genetics, 2011; 7 (9): e1002265 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002265

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Modeling melanocyte differentiation in zebrafish." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110901171248.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2011, September 1). Modeling melanocyte differentiation in zebrafish. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110901171248.htm
Public Library of Science. "Modeling melanocyte differentiation in zebrafish." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110901171248.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) A Harvard University study suggests monkeys can use symbols to perform basic math calculations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. 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