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Russian scientists explore frog head growth

June 10, 14:57 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The results of the research could help expand the understanding of embryogenesis
1 pages in this article
© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS, archive

MOSCOW, June 10. /TASS/. A team of Russian scientists has studied the Noggin4 protein that plays a crucial role in the formation of the Xenopus toad heads (Xenopus laevis), the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences reported.

The results of the research, published in the Scientific Reports journal, could help expand the understanding of embryogenesis.

Biologists from the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry together with their colleagues from the Protein Research Institute and the A.N. Belozersky Research Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology have studied the Noggin4 protein that plays a crucial role in the formation of the Xenopus toad heads (Xenopus laevis).

The researchers believe that the Noggin4 could be applied to the regulation of biological processes taking place in the stem cells involving Wnt-pathways, which are the structures for the controlling embryogenesis, stem cells differentiation, and the development of malignant tumors. The Wnt-pathways are similar across animal species from fruit flies to humans.

According to the institute, this study broadens the understanding start processes of embryogenesis and is of paramount importance for the finding out ways of using the protein Noggin4 for the manipulation of various biological processes including control of stem cells.

The scientists have revealed that the protein Noggin4 binds to ferments of Wnt signal pathway.

"The Noggin4 binds only to those proteins that are responsible for the development of the embryo. Noggin4, therefore, plays a key role in the formation of the head, and in particular, in the formation of the forebrain during embryogenesis," said Fedor Yeroshkin, the research assistant of the institute’s laboratory of molecular basis of embryogenesis.

The researchers have conducted a mathematical simulation of protein and showed that Noggin4 influences the Wnt gradient and, consequently, the regulation of the embryonic processes as well. Then, the biologists have tested this hypothesis experimentally on live frog embryos. They have artificially suppressed Noggin4 expression, which has caused a change in the Wnt gradient, and resulted in substantial defects while forming the frog head.

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