Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nerve regeneration research and therapy may get boost from new discovery

Date:
March 25, 2013
Source:
University of Nevada, Reno
Summary:
A new mechanism for guiding the growth of nerves that involves cell-death machinery may bring advances in neurological medicine and research.

Thomas Kidd, center, in his biosciences lab with post-doctoral researcher Gunnar Newquist and biology student Kirsti Walker, uses genetic studies with fruit flies to investigate nerve development.
Credit: Mike Wolterbeek, University of Nevada, Reno.

A new mechanism for guiding the growth of nerves that involves cell-death machinery has been found by scientists at the University of Nevada, Reno that may bring advances in neurological medicine and research. The team obtained the evidence in studies of fruit flies and reported their discovery in an article published in the publication Cell Reports.

"Although the fly is a relatively simple organism, almost every gene identified in this species appears to be carrying out similar functions in humans," said Thomas Kidd, associate professor in the University's biology department in whose lab the work was performed.

The Kidd lab is part of a $10 million Center for Biomedical Research Excellence Project in Cell Biology of Signaling at the University, which is funded by the National Institute of Health's Institute of General Medical Sciences. The project is also funded by the National Science Foundation.

"Flies are useful because the neural mechanisms we are studying are similar to those in mammals," said Gunnar Newquist, lead author of the Cell Reports article and a post-doctoral neuroscience researcher in Kidd's lab. "We've found something no one has seen before, that blocking the cell-death pathway can make nerves deprived of guidance cues figure out the right way to connect with other neurons. This was completely unexpected and novel, but really exciting because it changes the way we look at nerve growth.

"Neurons have a natural ability to die, if they fail to make the right connections they usually die. Neurons, like most other cell types, have the capacity to commit suicide and many do so during the formation of the nervous system."

The wiring of nervous systems is composed of axons, specialized extensions of neurons that transmit electrical impulses. During development axons navigate long distances to their targets by using signals in their environment. Netrin-B is one of those signals. Kidd, Newquist and colleagues have shown that Netrin-B also keeps neurons alive.

"Take away the Netrin-B and growth and cell death goes haywire," Newquist said.

This led them to the discovery that the cell-death machinery is active in growing nerves, and appears to be an integral part of the navigation mechanism.

"We use fruit fly genetics to study how these axons navigate these long distances correctly when developing," Kidd said. "Understanding the mechanisms they use to navigate is of great interest, not only for understanding how our brains form, but also as a starting point to devise ways to stimulate the re-growth of axons after injury, especially spinal cord injuries.

"Our work suggests that therapeutics designed to keep neurons alive after injury may be able to stimulate neurons to start re-growing or sprouting new connections."

"I am very pleased to see Tom's and Gunnar's hard work come to fruition," said Chris von Bartheld, director of the University's cell-biology COBRE and a professor in the University of Nevada School of Medicine. "Linking axonal path finding and cell death signaling opens exciting new venues to better understand both topics. It also shows that our recently established center in cell biology is achieving its goals of producing top-level biomedical research."

The research featured intheCell Report article is a major focus of Kidd's lab, which is one of five research projects in the COBRE. The center is a strong stimulus to integrate the University's research in cell biology, developmental biology, signaling and neuroscience and to develop collaborations between basic scientists and clinicians.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Nevada, Reno. The original article was written by Mike Wolterbeek. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gunnar Newquist, J.Michelle Drennan, Matthew Lamanuzzi, Kirsti Walker, JamesC. Clemens, Thomas Kidd. Blocking Apoptotic Signaling Rescues Axon Guidance in Netrin Mutants. Cell Reports, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.02.017

Cite This Page:

University of Nevada, Reno. "Nerve regeneration research and therapy may get boost from new discovery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325094032.htm>.
University of Nevada, Reno. (2013, March 25). Nerve regeneration research and therapy may get boost from new discovery. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325094032.htm
University of Nevada, Reno. "Nerve regeneration research and therapy may get boost from new discovery." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325094032.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) 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:
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