Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Development of the glial cell revealed

Date:
April 11, 2012
Source:
Baylor College of Medicine
Summary:
A vast majority of cells in the brain are glial, yet our understanding of how they are generated, a process called gliogenesis, has remained enigmatic. Researchers have now identified a novel transcripitonal cascade that controls these formative stages of gliogenesis and answered the longstanding question of how glial cells are generated from neural stem cells.

A vast majority of cells in the brain are glial, yet our understanding of how they are generated, a process called gliogenesis, has remained enigmatic. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have identified a novel transcripitonal cascade that controls these formative stages of gliogenesis and answered the longstanding question of how glial cells are generated from neural stem cells.

The findings appear in the current edition of Neuron.

"Most people are familiar with neurons, cells that process and transmit information in the brain. Glial cells, on the other hand, make-up about 80 percent of the cells in the brain and function by providing trophic support to neruons, participating in neurotransmission, myelin sheaths for axons, and comprise the blood brain barrier," said Dr. Benjamin Deneen, assistant professor of neuroscience at BCM. "Importantly, glia have been linked to numerous CNS pathologies, from brain tumors and spinal cord injury and several neurological disorders including, Retts Syndrome, ALS, and Multiple Sclerosis. Therefore deciphering how glial cells are generated is key to understanding brain function during health and disease."

As researchers began investigating glial development in chicks they started by going backwards -- examing what steps were needed before the glial cells matured. They discovered that glial cells are specified in neural stem cells when the transcription factor NFIA is induced.

Taking another step back in the transcriptional cascade, they looked for what triggered NFIA induction.

"By comparing mouse and chick regulatory sequences we were able to perform enhancer screening in the chick to identify regulatory elements with activity that resembled NFIA induction. This method allowed us to pinpoint Sox9," said Peng Kang, postdoctoral associate in the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at BCM. "Subsequently, we found that Sox9 doesn't just induce NFIA expression, it also associates with NFIA, forming a complex."

Just after the initiation of gliogenesis this complex was discovered to co-regulate a subset of genes that play important roles in mitochondria energy metabolism and glial precursor migration.

"Sox9 induces NFIA expression during glial initiation and then binds NFIA to drive lineage progression by cooperatively regulating a genetic program that controls cell migration and energy metabolism, two key processes associated with cellular differentiation," said Deneen. "We now need to ask what other proteins contribute to this process, and how does the nature of this complex evolve during astro-glial lineage progression."

Additionally, these findings may also help researchers to understand how certain brain tumors might begin to form, as these same developmental processes and proteins are found in both adult and pediatric brain tumors. A more comprehensive understanding how this regulatory cascade operates during development, could eventually lead to better treatment targets for brain tumors.

Others who took part in this study include Drs. Hyun Kyoung Lee (co-first author), Stacey Glasgow, Meggie Finely, Tataka Donti, Zachary B. Garber, Brett H. Graham, Aaron E. Foster, Bennett G. Novitch, and Richard M. Gronostajski.

Research was supported by funding from the Musella Brain Tumor Foundation, V. Foundation for Cancer Research, and the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Peng Kang, HyunKyoung Lee, StaceyM. Glasgow, Meggie Finley, Tataka Donti, ZacharyB. Gaber, BrettH. Graham, AaronE. Foster, BennettG. Novitch, RichardM. Gronostajski, Benjamin Deneen. Sox9 and NFIA Coordinate a Transcriptional Regulatory Cascade during the Initiation of Gliogenesis. Neuron, 2012; 74 (1): 79 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.01.024

Cite This Page:

Baylor College of Medicine. "Development of the glial cell revealed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120411132051.htm>.
Baylor College of Medicine. (2012, April 11). Development of the glial cell revealed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120411132051.htm
Baylor College of Medicine. "Development of the glial cell revealed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120411132051.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) A look inside Monrovia's Island Hospital, a key treatment centre in the fight against Ebola in Liberia's capital city. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) The Ebola outbreak is putting stress on first responders in Liberia. Ambulance drivers say they are struggling with chronic shortages of safety equipment and patients who don't want to go to the hospital. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) After the announcement that the first U.S. patient had been diagnosed with Ebola, doctors were quick to say a U.S. outbreak is highly unlikely. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) Medical officials from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital confirm they are treating a patient with the Ebola virus, the first case found in the US. (Sept. 30 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