February 17, 2011

It may not be intuitive to outsiders, but in order to understand and cure disease, it is crucial to understand development and how an early embryo is built and organized. Today’s image is from a paper clarifying the role of the Alzheimer’s disease-linked gene presenilin in development.

The development of a nervous system is a complex process that requires an extraordinary amount of regulation. In order for neurons and dendrites grow their processes to their final homes and set up the synaptic connections required for normal function, several different guidance proteins must coordinate their signals. A recent paper looks at the role of a protein called Presenilin-1 in the migration of motor neurons in the developing mouse nervous system. Presenilin-1 functions in coordinating the response of a neuron to the different signaling pathways. In the images above, motor axons can been seen (green) in the developing nervous system of mice. In embryos with disrupted Presenilin-1 (right), motor axons can be seen growing past the midline of the floor plate (FP), compared with normal embryos (left). Bottom images are enlarged views of the boxed regions. Images were acquired using an
Olympus Fluoview 1000 confocal microscope.

ResearchBlogging.orgBai, G., Chivatakarn, O., Bonanomi, D., Lettieri, K., Franco, L., Xia, C., Stein, E., Ma, L., Lewcock, J., & Pfaff, S. (2011). Presenilin-Dependent Receptor Processing Is Required for Axon Guidance Cell, 144 (1), 106-118 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2010.11.053
©2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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