Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lack of protein Sp2 disrupts neuron creation in brain

Date:
January 14, 2013
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
A protein known as Sp2 is key to the proper creation of neurons from stem cells, according to new research.

A rendered image of a primary neuronal stem cell culture in which cells were labeled with different fluorescently labeled proteins that differentiate between stem cells (orange/yellow) and their neuronal 'offspring' (blue/green/purple). Neural stem cells are dependent on a protein called Sp2 for their ability to generate neurons.
Credit: NC State University

A protein known as Sp2 is key to the proper creation of neurons from stem cells, according to researchers at North Carolina State University. Understanding how this protein works could enable scientists to "program" stem cells for regeneration, which has implications for neural therapies.

Troy Ghashghaei and Jon Horowitz, both faculty in NC State's Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences and researchers in the Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, wanted to know more about the function of Sp2, a cell cycle regulator that helps control how cells divide. Previous research from Horowitz had shown that too much Sp2 in skin-producing stem cells resulted in tumors in experimental mice. Excessive amounts of Sp2 prevented the stem cells from creating normal cell "offspring," or skin cells. Instead, the stem cells just kept producing more stem cells, which led to tumor formation.

"We believe that Sp2 must play a fundamental role in the lives of normal stem cells," Horowitz says. "Trouble ensues when the mechanisms that regulate its activity are overwhelmed due to its excess abundance."

Ghashghaei and his team -- led by doctoral candidate Huixuan Liang -- took the opposite approach. Using genetic tools, they got rid of Sp2 in certain neural stem cells in mice, specifically those that produce the major neurons of the brain's cerebral cortex. They found that a lack of Sp2 disrupted normal cell formation in these stem cells, and one important result was similar to Horowitz's: the abnormal stem cells were unable to produce normal cell "offspring," or neurons. Instead, the abnormal stem cells just created copies of themselves, which were also abnormal.

"It's interesting that both an overabundance of this protein and a total lack of it result in similar disruptions in how stem cells divide," Ghashghaei says. "So while this work confirms that Sp2 is absolutely necessary for stem cell function, a lot of questions still remain about what exactly it is regulating, and whether it is present in all stem cells or just a few. We also need to find out if Sp2 deletion or overabundance can produce brain tumors in our mice as in the skin.

"Finally, we are very interested in understanding how Sp2 regulates a very important decision a stem cell has to make: whether to produce more of itself or to produce offspring that can become neurons or skin cells," Ghashghaei adds. "We hope to address those questions in our future research, because these cellular mechanisms have implications for cancer research, neurodevelopmental diseases and regenerative medicine."

The results appear online in Development. NC State graduate students Guanxi Xiao, and Haifeng Yin, as well as Dr. Simon Hippenmeyer, a collaborator with the Ghashghaei lab from Austria's Institute of Science and Technology, contributed to the work. The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Federation for Aging Research.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. H. Liang, G. Xiao, H. Yin, S. Hippenmeyer, J. M. Horowitz, H. T. Ghashghaei. Neural development is dependent on the function of specificity protein 2 in cell cycle progression. Development, 2013; 140 (3): 552 DOI: 10.1242/dev.085621

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Lack of protein Sp2 disrupts neuron creation in brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130114152933.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2013, January 14). Lack of protein Sp2 disrupts neuron creation in brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130114152933.htm
North Carolina State University. "Lack of protein Sp2 disrupts neuron creation in brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130114152933.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. 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