German biologists explain function of Pentagone

June 30, 2016
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The scientists from Freiburg University considered the issue of the mechanisms that control cell location in the body. How do the cells in a human embryo know where and how they should develop? The research was led by biologist Dr. Giorgos Pyrowolakis, and results on protein Pentagone were published in the journal eLife.

German biologists revealed the protein Pentagone, which is crucial for the mechanisms of creating and forming the new cell in an embryo. Scientists and their experiment on the fruit fly proved the importance of Pentagone on the veins in the wing of a fruit fly. The protein Pentagone spreads a clear signal in the wing that tells the cells how to behave and how to form further. As Freiburg biologist Dr. Giorgos Pyrowolakis explained:

“The proteins Dpp and Pentagone, which are crucial for this developmental step in the organism Drosophila melanogaster, are also present in a similar form in humans. The fundamental principles elucidated in this study are also active in humans, where they might control things like where cells form fingers.”

The results undoubtedly will contribute to our understanding of the origin of developmental disorders. There’re two main points of a research:

i) The concentration gradient of Pentagone is opposite than that of Dpp. The closer a cell is located to the point where Pentagone is produced, the less Dpp it can bind.

ii) The concentration of Pentagone is adjusted to match that of Dpp. If the wing grows, the Dpp gradient also expands.

In other words, Pentagone regulates the gradient in a similar way a thermostat adjusts the temperature. Another miracle from Nature!

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