Scientists discover mechanism that controls brain development

In this news, we discuss the Scientists discover mechanism that controls brain development.

Scientists have taken a significant step forward in understanding the complex mechanisms that control the development of the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that plays a key role in attention, perception, awareness, thinking, memory, language and consciousness.

The brain is made up of billions of neurons that communicate with each other by forming many connections and synapses. The cerebral cortex (plural cortex) is the outer layer of the brain’s neural tissue in the brain in humans and other mammals. Previous studies have shown that the evolution of the brain in mammals was accompanied by a progressive enlargement of the cerebral cortex.

The intentional study, led by Professor Lars Allan Larsen and Professor Søren Tvorup Christensen of the University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark, was published in Nature Communications.

The team began with genetic analyzes of a large family in which children were born with primary microcephaly, a rare congenital brain disorder characterized by a reduction in the size of the cerebral cortex and a varying degree of cognitive dysfunction.

Scientists found that children carried a mutation in both copies of the gene, RRP7A, and through the use of stem cell cultures as well as zebrafish as a model organism, RRP7A was shown to play a vital role. for the proliferation of brain stem cells. and train new neurons. This process is extremely complex and slight disturbances can have serious consequences, which may explain why the mutation affects the brain and no other tissue or organ.

“Our discovery is surprising because it reveals previously unknown mechanisms involved in brain development. In addition, it highlights the value of rare disease research, which is important both for patients and families affected by the disease, but also beneficial to society in the form of new knowledge about human biology. Said Prof. Larsen, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

The researchers further found that the RRP7A mutation affects the function of the so-called primary cilia, which project as a single copy as antenna-like structures on the surface of cells to record environmental signals and control the formation of new neurons in development. brain.

“Our results open a new way to understand how the primary cilia control developmental processes and how certain mutations in these antenna-shaped structures compromise the formation of tissues and organs during development. To this end, we have already launched a series of investigations to understand the mechanisms by which RRP7A regulates ciliary signaling to control the formation and organization of neurons in the brain, and how defects in this signaling can lead to brain malformations. and cognitive impairment, said Prof. Christensen in the Department of Biology.

News Highlights:

Scientists discover mechanism that controls brain development

The cognitive abilities of the human brain have increased during evolution

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