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Scientists identify gene crucial for brain development

Last Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014 - 20:46
Pic Courtesy:

Zee Media Bureau/Philaso G Kaping

Washington: Neuroscientists have found the "off switch" that plays a crucial role in nerve cell formation, according to a new study.

Researchers led by Dr Julian Heng of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) at Monash University identified a gene, RP58, which switches off Rnd2 expression to control the proper positioning of neurons within the foetal brain, according to a press statement.

This transcription factor is crucial for normal development as its absence can lead to reduced brain growth and intellectual disability.

“Together with a collaborative study we published with our colleagues earlier in the year, this research demonstrates that loss of RP58 impairs the development of new nerve cells in the embryonic mouse brain, including their path-finding,” Dr Heng said.

“Since the early steps of nerve cell production during brain development are comparable between mice and humans, we believe that RP58 carries out similar functions in the foetal human brain as well. This strengthens the notion that disruptions to this gene can cause brain developmental disease.”

The researchers believe this study could lead to a possibility of regenerative medicine.

"In the future, we will use this knowledge to develop novel cell-based therapies to treat neurodegenerative disorders and brain injury,” Dr Heng said.

First Published: Thursday, January 30, 2014 - 20:46
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