Friday, September 20, 2013

Sugars Regulate Brain Development

Neurobiology

If the development of our nervous system is disturbed, we risk developing serious neurological diseases, impairing our sensory systems, movement control or cognitive functions. This is true for all organisms with a well-developed nervous system, from man to worm. New research from BRIC, University of Copenhagen reveals how a tiny molecule called mir-79 regulates neural development in roundworms. The molecule is required for correct migration of specific nerve cells during development and malfunction causes defects in the nervous system of the worm. The research has just been published in the journal Science.

If the development of our nervous system is disturbed, we risk developing serious neurological diseases, impairing our sensory systems, movement control or cognitive functions. This is true for all organisms with a well-developed nervous system, from man to worm.

New research from BRIC, University of Copenhagen reveals how a tiny molecule called mir-79 regulates neural development in roundworms. The molecule is required for correct migration of specific nerve cells during development and malfunction causes defects in the nervous system of the worm. The research has just been published in the journal Science.

Hundreds of worms lie in a small plastic plate under the laboratory microscope. Over the last three years, the group of Associate Professor Roger Pocock has used the roundworm C. elegans to study the development of the nervous system. They have just made an important discovery.

"Our new results show that a small molecule called mir-79 is indispensable for development of the worm's nervous system. Mir-79 acts by equipping special signal molecules with a transmitter, which tells the nerve cells how they should migrate during development of the worm.

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