Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Genomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Notch Controls Bone Formation and Strength

Published: Monday, February 25, 2008
Last Updated: Monday, February 25, 2008
Bookmark and Share
Notch, a protein that governs cell differentiation process in embryos, plays a critical role in bone formation and strength later in life.

Notch, a protein known to govern the determination of cell differentiation into different kinds of tissues in embryos, plays a critical role in bone formation and strength later in life, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in a report that appears online today in the journal Nature Medicine.

Their findings may provide a basis for understanding osteoporosis and in diseases in which there is too much bone.

“We knew that Notch is important in patterning the skeleton,” said Dr. Brendan Lee, professor of molecular and human genetics and pediatrics at BCM and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

“After this initial patterning of the skeleton, we saw a dimorphic or two-pronged function for Notch. If there was an increase of Notch activity in bone cells, we get a lot more bone. Notch stimulates early proliferation of osteoblastic cells (cells responsible for bone formation). However, when they ‘knocked out’ the Notch function in such cells in the laboratory, they found osteoporosis or the loss of bone, similar to age-related osteoporosis in humans,” Lee added.

“Mice had an acceptable amount of bone at birth, but as they got older, they lost more and more bone,” said Lee, senior author of the report. “Loss of Notch signaling might relate to what happens when we get older.”

They found that the osteoblasts, which promote bone formation, worked fine when they abolished Notch function in bone forming cells. However, the animals lacked the ability to regulate activity of osteoclasts, whose primary function is to resorb or remove bone. Many women who have osteoporosis actually have a similar problem, an imbalance of bone formation vs. bone resorption. They make enough bone but they resorb bone cells at an abnormally high rate.

In the laboratory, Lee and his colleagues found that when animals were bred to lack Notch, they lost also the ability to suppress bone resorption. That balance between bone formation and resorption allows organisms to maintain a healthy skeleton.

Future studies may look at the possibility that loss of Notch interferes with the natural signal between osteoblasts and osteoclasts (bone resorbing cells) and prevents the homeostasis or natural balance between the two.

That means the protein Notch and the cellular pathways that express and control it might be targets for drugs to treat bone disorders, said Lee, also a researcher in the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at BCM.

The work demonstrates the importance of going from patients to the laboratory and back again, he said. This study began with patients who suffer from a problem called spondylocostal dysplasia. These children and adults have problems with the pattern of their spine. They have fusions of parts of the spine or ribs. Several years ago, other scientists showed that a mutation of the pathway for Notch causes some of these problems. “Our care of these patients suggested to us that Notch may have important function even after the establishment of this initial pattern of the skeleton.”

Notch also plays a role in other disorders, including those of the blood and cancer.

“Notch is important in the blood system,” said Lee. “It regulates whether a stem cell becomes a ‘T’ or a ‘B’ cell. When Notch is mutated in the blood system, it causes cancer.”

That knowledge led him and his colleagues to look at the protein in bone.

“This is a complex system and it is why personalized medicine is important,” said Lee. “By identifying all of the major (cellular) pathways that contribute to a specific trait or feature like bone mass in each person, we could one day develop therapies specific for that person.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,300+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,900+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells Play Role in Tumor Growth
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have reported a new mechanism that helps cancer cells engage myeloid-derived suppressor cells.
Friday, May 20, 2016
Largest Genomic Study on Kidney Cancer
Understanding the complexity of cancer is a major goal of the scientific community, and for kidney cancer researchers this goal just got closer.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Largest Genomic Study on Kidney Cancer Brings Hope for More Effective Treatments
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have found that a pathway called immune checkpoint was most active in a subtype of clear cell kidney cancer that is typically very aggressive.
Tuesday, March 08, 2016
Baylor, DNAnexus Collaborate
Partnership sets out to develop HgV, a new iteration of HGSC's Mercury, a BCM-developed data processing and variant calling pipeline for analyzing and annotating next-generation sequencing data in research and clinical contexts.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Baylor, TGen Collaborate on Personalized Cancer Treatment Options
The companies will collaborate on precision medicine for cancer patients by offering liquid biopsies, performing gene sequencing, conducting clinical trials, and creating personalized vaccines.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Collaboration Unravels Novel Mechanism for Neurological Disorder
The novel gene (CLP1) associated with a neurological disorder affecting both the peripheral and central nervous systems.
Saturday, April 26, 2014
$3M NIH Grant Enables Baylor International HIV/AIDS Program
Researchers to study genetic differences of disease in sub-Saharan African children.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Baylor College of Medicine, Berry Genomics Co. Seek to Improve on Prenatal Genetic Tests
Teams aim to improve prenatal genetic testing by combining BCM’s expertise in using microarrays for DNA analysis and Berry’s non-invasive technology evaluating fetal DNA in maternal plasma.
Monday, January 07, 2013
Protein 'Tubules' Free Avian Flu Virus from Immune Recognition
Two domains or portions of the protein NS1 combine to form tiny tubules where double-stranded RNA is hidden from the immune system, researchers say.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Lack of Fragile X, Related Gene Disrupts Sleep
Deficiency of the FMR1 gene and a similar gene called FXR2 could account for sleep problems associated with inherited mental impairment.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Nature Mixes, Matches Genes to Keep Nerve Cells Straight
BCM researchers report that nature has to mix and match thousands of genes to generate the myriad types of neurons needed to assemble the brain and nervous system.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Findings Indicate How Gene Transcription is Controlled in Embryonic Stem Cells
In a report that appears in the journal Nature Cell Biology, BCM researchers explain that association determines fate in embryonic stem cells.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Epilepsy Genes may Cancel Each Other
Inheriting two genetic mutations that can individually cause epilepsy might actually be "seizure-protective," according to Baylor College of Medicine researchers.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
BCM Human Microbiome Projects to Sequence 150 Bacteria, Sample Human Metagenome
A $2.3 million NHGRI grant will enable researchers to determine the genetic code of bacteria that colonize healthy humans and study the structure of microbial communities from five regions of the human body.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Scientific News
Gene Therapy for Metabolic Liver Diseases
Researchers have tested gene therapy in pigs from hereditary tyrosinemia type 1, with corrected liver cells being transplanted into the diseased liver.
Gene Terapy for Muscle Wasting Developed
New gene therapy could save millions of people suffering from muscle wasting disease.
Gene-Editing 'Toolbox' Targets Multiple Genes Simultaneously
Researchers have designed a system that modifies, or edits, multiple genes in a genome at once while minimising unintentional effects.
Discovering the First Farmers
Genetic analyses reveal a collection of highly distinct groups in the Near East and Europe at the dawn of agriculture.
Fighting Cancer Through Protein Pathways
Researchers have found a new drug target within a protein production pathway critical to regulating growth and proliferation of cells.
Mutations in DNA-Repair Genes Found in Advanced Prostate Cancers
New findings indicate that nearly 12% of male advanced prostate cancer sufferers have inherited mutation in DNA-repair genes.
Ice Bucket Challenge Instrumental in Gene Discovery
Donations from the ALS Ice Bucket Chellenge allowed for the largest-ever study of inherited ALS, which identified a new ALS gene.
Triple-Action Therapy Patch Shows Promise
Patch that delivers drug, gene, and light-based therapy to tumor sites shows promising results in mice.
Cancer Gene-Drug Combinations Ripe for Precision Medicine
The study aims to expand the number of cancer gene mutations that can be paired with a precision therapy.
Targeting BRAF Mutations in Thyroid Cancer
Treating metastatic thyroid cancer patients harboring a BRAF mutation with vemurafenib showed anti-tumor activity in a third of patients.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,300+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,900+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!