New roles for growth factors: Enticing nerve cells to muscles

La Jolla, CA - During embryonic development, nerve cells hesitantly extend tentacle-like protrusions called axons that sniff their way through a labyrinth of attractive and repulsive chemical cues that guide them to their target.

While several recent studies discovered molecules that repel motor neuron axons from incorrect targets in the limb, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified a molecule, known as FGF, that actively lures growing axons closer to the right destination. Their findings appear in the June 15 issue of Neuron.

"The most important aspect of our finding is not necessarily that we finally nailed the growth factor FGF as the molecule that guides a specific subgroup of motor neurons to connect to the muscles that line our spine and neck," says senior author Samuel Pfaff, Ph.D., a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory, "but that piece by piece, we are uncovering general principles that ensure that the developing nervous system establishes proper neuronal connections."

Understanding how axons find their destinations may help restore movement in people following spinal cord injury, or those with motor neuron diseases such as Lou Gehrig's disease, spinal muscle atrophy, and post-polio syndrome. Failure to establish proper connectivity in the brain may also underlie autism spectrum disorders and mental retardation.

The multitasking members of the FGF growth factor family regulate blood vessel formation, wound repair, lung maturation, and development of skeletal muscle, blood and bone marrow cells. The Salk study adds on more job to an already long list.

"Our study emphasizes that the nervous system does not necessarily rely on an entirely new set of molecules to govern axon navigation, but instead uses growth factors already involved in embryonic development in clever and novel ways," Pfaff says.

Skeletal muscle consists of thousands of muscle fibers, each controlled by o

Contact: Gina Kirchweger
858-453-4100 x1340
Salk Institute

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. ORNL researchers, supercomputer have large roles in DOE projects
2. Sunflower speciation highlights roles for transposable elements in evolution
3. Tumour development actors ERK1 and ERK2 found to play opposite roles
4. New research clarifies roles of calcium, vitamin D, and protein in bone health, fracture risk
5. Bedsores and bald hides: Novel roles revealed for a scaffolding protein
6. Proteins take on new roles in malaria parasite
7. Illinois researchers to play key roles in study of emergence of life
8. Environment and genetic influences play different roles in boys and girls gender-role behavior
9. Flies on speed offer insight into the roles of dopamine in sleep and arousal
10. Conserved amino acids play both structural and mechanistic roles in sandwich-like protein
11. Circadian clock controls plant growth hormone

Post Your Comments:

(Date:4/6/2017)... LONDON , April 6, 2017 ... Control, RFID, ANPR, Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & ... Energy Facility, Oil, Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear ... Healthcare, Educational, Other) Are you looking for ... Authentication sector? ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... NEW YORK , April 5, 2017 ... security, is announcing that the server component of the ... is known for providing the end-to-end security architecture that ... customers. HYPR has already secured over 15 ... system makers including manufacturers of connected home product suites ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... , April 4, 2017   EyeLock LLC , ... that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ... covers the linking of an iris image with a ... and represents the company,s 45 th issued patent. ... is very timely given the multi-modal biometric capabilities that ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... FL (PRWEB) , ... October ... ... (RPS®) today announces publication of a United States multicenter, prospective clinical study ... use, disposable, point-of-care diagnostic test capable of identifying clinically significant acute bacterial ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... LINDA, CA (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 ... ... to upregulate any gene in its endogenous context, enabling overexpression experiments and avoiding ... (CRISPRa) system with small RNA guides is transformative for performing systematic gain-of-function studies. ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Netherlands and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. ... Institute of Cancer Research, London (ICR) ... MMprofiler™ with SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with ... known as MUK nine . The University of ... which is partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed licensing rights that give it exclusive global access ... developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Additionally, an ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: