Saturday, December 23, 2006


Researchers find novel genes critical in organ development

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have identified a group of novel genes that are critical in organ development*.

The scientists studied the roles of genes in the zebrafish secretome. This group of genes makes proteins that are located on the surface or outside of cells in the body, and are responsible for directing 'patterning' in the body, or ensuring that cells divide, differentiate and migrate to properly form vital organs in the correct places during development.

The research is published online in the current issue of the Public Library of Science journal ONE.

Continued at "Researchers find novel genes critical in organ development"


Based on the open access/free PLoS ONE paper:

"Genome-Wide Reverse Genetics Framework to Identify Novel Functions of the Vertebrate Secretome"

Citation: Pickart MA, Klee EW, Nielsen AL, Sivasubbu S, Mendenhall EM, et al. (2006) Genome-Wide Reverse Genetics Framework to Identify Novel Functions of the Vertebrate Secretome. PLoS ONE 1(1): e104. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000104


Understanding the functional role(s) of the more than 20,000 proteins of the vertebrate genome is a major next step in the post-genome era. The approximately 4,000 co-translationally translocated (CTT) proteins – representing the vertebrate secretome – are important for such vertebrate-critical processes as organogenesis. However, the role(s) for most of these genes is currently unknown.


We identified 585 putative full-length zebrafish CTT proteins using cross-species genomic and EST-based comparative sequence analyses. We further investigated 150 of these genes (Figure 1) for unique function using morpholino-based analysis in zebrafish embryos. 12% of the CTT protein-deficient embryos resulted in specific developmental defects, a notably higher rate of gene function annotation than the 2%–3% estimate from random gene mutagenesis studies.


This initial collection includes novel genes required for the development of vascular, hematopoietic, pigmentation, and craniofacial tissues, as well as lipid metabolism, and organogenesis. This study provides a framework utilizing zebrafish for the systematic assignment of biological function in a vertebrate genome.


*Info on Organogenesis:

In animal development, organogenesis is the process by which the ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm develop into the internal organs of the organism. The germ layers in organogenesis differ by three processes: folds, splits, and condensation. Developing early during this stage in chordate animals are the neural tube and notochord. Vertebrate animals all differ from the gastrula the same way. Vertebrates develop a neural crest that differentiates into many structures, including some bones, muscles, and components of the peripheral nervous system. The coelom of the body forms from a split of the mesoderm along the somite axis. [More]


Also see The Center for Organogenesis:

The Center for Organogenesis (CFO) is composed of an intercollegiate and interdisciplinary group of scientists at the University of Michigan whose work is directed at a common goal: to understand the basic mechanisms by which organs and tissues are formed and maintained, and to use this knowledge to create long lasting artifical organs, stem cell therapies or organ transplantation systems that will correct genetic and acquired diseases. The mission of the Center is to establish and maintain an infrastructure for the study of organogenesis at the University of Michigan {Continued].

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