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:5/9/2016)... May 9, 2016 Elevay is ... to expanding freedom for high net worth professionals seeking ... today,s globally connected world, there is still no substitute ... ever duplicate sealing your deal with a firm handshake. ... by taking advantage of citizenship via investment programs like ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... BANGALORE, India and LONDON ... Infosys Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a ... ), and Onegini today announced a partnership to ... banking solutions.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ... banks to provide their customers enhanced security to ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  , ... global gait biometrics market is expected to grow ... 2016-2020. Gait analysis generates multiple variables ... to compute factors that are not or cannot ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... GUELPH, ON , June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM ... it has been advised by its major shareholders, Clean ... LP, United States based venture ... common shares of Biorem (on a fully diluted, as ... for the disposition of their entire equity holdings in ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... Parallel ... clinical trials, announced today the Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT module ... circle with the physician and clinical trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, patients ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... 2016  Liquid Biotech USA ... a Sponsored Research Agreement with The University of ... from cancer patients.  The funding will be used ... with clinical outcomes in cancer patients undergoing a ... be employed to support the design of a ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled a liquid ... to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination deficiency ... new test has already been incorporated into numerous ... types. Over 230 clinical trials are ... including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. Drugs ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: