When Mark Martindale decided to trace the evolutionary origin of muscle cells, like the ones that form our hearts, he looked in an unlikely place: the genes of animals without hearts or muscles.
In a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the University of Florida scientist and colleagues found genes known to form heart cells in humans and other animals in the gut of a muscle-less and heartless sea anemone. But the sea anemone isn’t just any sea creature. It has superpower-like abilities: Cut it into many pieces and each piece will regenerate into a new anemone.
So why does the sea anemone regenerate while humans cannot? When analyzing the function of its “heart genes,” study researchers discovered a difference in the way these genes interact with one another, which may help explain its ability to regenerate, said Martindale, a UF biology professor and director of the Whitney Lab for Marine Bioscience in St. Augustine.
The study’s findings point to potential for tweaking communication between human genes and advancing our ability to treat heart conditions and stimulate regenerative healing, he said.
“Our study shows that if we learn more about the logic of how genes that give rise to heart cells talk to each other, muscle regeneration in humans might be possible,” Martindale said.
These heart genes generate what engineers calls lockdown loops in vertebrates and flies, which means that once the genes are turned on, they tell each other to stay on in an animal’s cells for its entire lifetime. In other words, animals with a lockdown on their genes cannot grow new heart parts or use those cells for other functions.
“This ensures that heart cells always stay heart cells and cannot become any other type of cell,” Martindale said.
But in sea anemone embryos, the lockdown loops do not exist. This finding suggests a mechanism for why the gut cells expressing heart genes in sea anemones can turn into other kinds of cells, such as those needed to regenerate damaged body parts, Martindale said.
The study supports the idea that definitive muscle cells found in the majority of animals arose from a bifunctional gut tissue that had both absorptive and contractile properties. And while the gut tissue of a sea anemone might not look like a beating heart, it does undergo slow, rhythmic peristaltic waves of contraction, much like the human digestive system.
Study authors argue that the first animal muscle cells might have been very heart-like, Martindale said.
“The idea is these genes have been around a long time and preceded the twitchy muscles that cover our skeleton,” Martindale said.
Continued research could one day allow scientists to coax muscles cells into regenerating different kinds of new cells, including more heart cells, Martindale said.
The Latest on: Regenerative medicine
- 3D Systems Joins CollPlant in Regenerative Medicine Effortson January 14, 2020 at 7:53 am
3D Systems DDD recently partnered with CollPlant Biotechnologies CLGN to jointly develop tissue and scaffold bioprinting processes for third party companies, aiming to expedite the advancements in the ...
- Regenerative Medicine Market: Facts, Figures and Analytical Insights 2019 - 2026on January 14, 2020 at 12:47 am
Regenerative Medicine Market Analysis According to Verified Market Research, the Global Regenerative Medicine Market was valued at USD 19.10 Billion in 2018 and is expected to witness a growth of ...
- 3D Systems and CollPlant Biotechnologies Join Forces to Accelerate Breakthroughs in Regenerative Medicineon January 13, 2020 at 4:00 am
and CollPlant Biotechnologies (NASDAQ: CLGN), announced signing a joint development agreement intended to play ...
- Regenerative Medicine Market – Segmented By Product, Type, Application, And Region – Global Growth, Trends, And Forecast To 2024on January 13, 2020 at 1:21 am
Overview Regenerative medicine is an interdisciplinary field that applies life science and engineering principles for ...
- How Kyoto Is Rebuilding Itself As A Nanotech And Regenerative Medicine Powerhouseon January 9, 2020 at 9:38 am
As humans continue to pump more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, concerns about global warming and climate change continue to grow. But what if that CO2 could be turned into a source of ...
- Zhittya Genesis Medicine Signs $150 Million Biopharmaceutical Marketing Partnership Agreement with Regenerative Medicine of Chinaon January 9, 2020 at 9:00 am
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 09, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Zhittya Genesis Medicine, Inc. (a private company) (“Zhittya” or the “Company”), has signed a $150 million USD international marketing partnership ...
- Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Action Awards to be Presented at World Stem Cell Summit on January 23 at the Hyatt Regency Miamion January 9, 2020 at 12:08 am
2020 Honorees include Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Emily Whitehead Foundation, Gift of Life Marrow Registry and Ret. Major General Bernard “Burn” Loeffke (US Military) Miami, FL, Jan. 09, 2020 (GLOBE ...
- Emerging regenerative medicine and tissue engineering strategies for Parkinson’s diseaseon January 8, 2020 at 2:06 am
Regenerative medicine-based solutions are being aggressively pursued with the goal of restoring dopamine levels in the striatum, with several emerging techniques attempting to reconstruct the entire ...
- Regenerative Medicine Center Opens at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Scienceson January 8, 2020 at 2:00 am
- Market Size of Regenerative Medicine in the Healthcare Industry to Touch USD 151,949.5 Mn by 2026on January 7, 2020 at 10:55 pm
The regenerative medicine market is likely to expand considerably in the coming years due to growing applications in the treatment of chronic diseases. According to a report published by Fortune ...
via Google News and Bing News