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November 17, 2004

Sonic Hedgehog shapes the brain

Topics: Clinical Pharmacology

This post is offered as additional information for the previous post - especially for those who don't quite see what a fury animal has to do with brain nuclei.

A Sonic Hedgehog is not a superfast flying fury animal!


A Sonic Hedgehog is not one of these moving very fast

Researchers showed that the size and shape of brain structures can be controlled by a signaling molecule known as Sonic Hedgehog, as reported by University of Chicago researchers in a paper published in the  March 16, 2001, issue of Science.

During development, the brain becomes organized into highly specialized groups of neurons, called brain nuclei, each expressing its own set of genes and participating in very specific neural functions. Little is known, however, about how brain nuclei of the appropriate size, shape and location are generated. The researchers showed that this process can be coordinated by the secretion of a single molecule, Sonic Hedgehog, that operates as a 'positional signal'.

"A positional signal is a neat mechanism for creating patterns of different types of cells," according to Cliff Ragsdale, Ph.D., assistant professor in neurobiology, pharmacology and physiology at the University of Chicago, and principal investigator in the study. "Target cells respond differently to a signaling molecule according to their distance from the source of the signal."Read More.....

Posted by Hyscience at November 17, 2004 8:41 PM

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