Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Few genes control neuronal function

Date:
March 14, 2012
Source:
Linkoeping Universitet
Summary:
How are 100 billion cells created, each with specific duties? The human brain is evidence that nature can achieve this. Researchers have now taken a step closer to solving this mystery.

The magenta-colored structures are nerve cells that use odourant receptor 47b, which senses pheromones. Expression of this receptor is controlled by the transcription factor E93. When E93 is removed, the neurons lose their ability to fulfill their task do detect pheromones, as evidenced by the deactivation of the fluorescent proteins (image to the right). The glowing, green cells, that use olfactory receptor 92a, are not affected because they are controlled by other transcription factors.
Credit: Image courtesy of Linkoeping Universitet

How are 100 billion cells created, each with specific duties? The human brain is evidence that nature can achieve this. Researchers at Linkφping University in Sweden have now taken a step closer to solving this mystery.

Related Articles


"Knowledge about the mechanisms that diversify neurons and keep them diverse is necessary in order to cultivate and replace nerve cells in the future," says Mattias Alenius, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, who has published his research breakthrough in the current issue of the journal PLoS Biology.

Alenius and his research team at the Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine seek the answer to this pivotal question from a smaller perspective: the fruit fly's olfactory system.

The humble fly's olfactory system consists of 1200 olfactory neurons (humans have six million) divided into 34 groups. Each group responds to a particular set of odours, since all the neurons of the group use only one of the olfactory receptors present in the fly's antennas. Together, the receptors provide the fly with the ability to distinguish between thousands of odours: one olfactory receptor -- one neuron group, simple yet complex.

Alenius and his colleagues are the first to go through all of the fruit fly's 753 gene regulatory genes, called transcription factors. They have identified a set of seven that, in different combinations, are required to create each of the 34 neuron groups in the antenna. A surprising finding is that most transcription factors perform two tasks simultaneously: they can activate odorant receptors' expression; while at the same time turning off others in the same cell.

Alenius explains, "This is one of the many tricks that are useful to know for the future if you want to make and cultivate each of the many thousands of nerve cell groups that make up our brains."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Shadi Jafari, Liza Alkhori, Alexander Schleiffer, Anna Brochtrup, Thomas Hummel, Mattias Alenius. Combinatorial Activation and Repression by Seven Transcription Factors Specify Drosophila Odorant Receptor Expression. PLoS Biology, 2012; 10 (3): e1001280 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001280

Cite This Page:

Linkoeping Universitet. "Few genes control neuronal function." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120314100429.htm>.
Linkoeping Universitet. (2012, March 14). Few genes control neuronal function. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120314100429.htm
Linkoeping Universitet. "Few genes control neuronal function." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120314100429.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Teva Offers $40 Billion for Mylan

Teva Offers $40 Billion for Mylan

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 21, 2015) — Generic drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical is offering $82 a share, or $40 billion, for its smaller rival Mylan, in an alternative to Mylan&apos;s deal to buy Perrigo. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blue Bell Recalls All Products

Blue Bell Recalls All Products

AP (Apr. 21, 2015) — Blue Bell Creameries voluntary recalled for all of its products after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeria, a potentially deadly bacteria. Blue Bell&apos;s President and CEO issued a video statement. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yemen Doctors at Breaking Point

Yemen Doctors at Breaking Point

Reuters - News Video Online (Apr. 21, 2015) — A Sanaa hospital struggles to cope with the high number of casualties with severe injuries, after an air strike left at least 25 dead and hundreds wounded. Deborah Lutterbeck reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Tutu Tuesdays' Brighten Faces at Kids' Hospital

'Tutu Tuesdays' Brighten Faces at Kids' Hospital

AP (Apr. 21, 2015) — Doctors and nurses have started wearing ballet tutus every Tuesday to cheer up young hospital patients at a Florida hospital. It started with a request made by a nervous patient -- now, almost the entire staff is wearing the tutus. (April 21) Video provided by AP
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

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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