Tiny 'garbage collectors' help control brain development

February 19, 2014 by Bill Hathaway
Tiny ‘garbage collectors’ help control brain development

(Medical Xpress)—Millions of tiny nanovesicles—once thought to be merely molecular garbage collectors—are actually stuffed with information crucial to brain development, Yale researchers report.

Researchers in the lab of Angelique Bordey, professor of neurosurgery and of physiology, studied exosome nanovesicles found in the of the developing brains of , stained pink in the accompanying photo. Until the last few years, scientists had believed that the primary job of these nanovesicles was to sweep up byproducts of cellular activity.

However, the researchers discovered these nanovesicles contained hundreds of proteins and bits of small RNAs that regulate a key molecular pathway controlling the density of neurons in developing brain. Bordey said it may be possible one day to analyze the contents of these nanovesicles to diagnose neurological conditions such as autism before birth.

To learn more, read the study published online Feb. 18 in the journal PLOS ONE.

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not rated yet Feb 20, 2014
Journal Article excerpt:

"We found that the most highly enriched human microRNAs were also present in rats..."

Does this suggest that Nei's concept of 'constraint-breaking mutation can be used to compare the claim: "We all are mutants" --Discover Magazine March 2014 (p. 32) -- to the claim that we are all mutant rats, since it is obvious that evolutionarily conserved molecules are involved?


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