Navigation Links
A*STAR scientists discover novel hormone essential for heart development
Date:12/6/2013

1. Scientists at A*STAR's Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) and Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology (IMCB) have identified a gene encoding a hormone that could potentially be used as a therapeutic molecule to treat heart diseases. The hormone - which they have chosen to name ELABELA - is only 32 amino-acids long, making it amongst the tiniest proteins made by the human body.

2. The team led by Dr Bruno Reversade carried out experiments to determine ELABELA's function, since its existence was hitherto unsuspected. Using zebrafish designed to specifically lack this hormone, they uncovered that ELABELA is indispensable for heart formation. Zebrafish embryos without this gene had rudimentary or no heart at all (see Figure 1). Their results were published in the 5 December 2013 online issue of Developmental Cell.

3. Deficiencies in hormones are the cause of many diseases, such as the loss of insulin or insulin resistance, that results in diabetes, and irregularities in appetite and satiety hormones that can cause obesity. Hormones are known to control functions such as sleep, appetite and fertility. However, this is the first time that scientists have revealed the existence of a conserved hormone playing such an early role during embryogenesis, effectively orchestrating the development of an entire organ.

4. The team also found that ELABELA uses a receptor previously believed to be specific to APELIN, a blood-pressure controlling hormone. This receptor called APJ or Apelin Receptor has dual functions - it first conveys signals from ELABELA and then from APELIN. Mutations in the Apelin Receptor also prevent the heart from forming. Zebrafish bereft of the Apelin Receptor are referred to as the Grinch, in reference to the cold and heartless cartoon character created by Dr. Seuss in 1957.

5. ELABELA has also been found to be expressed in human embryonic stem cells , indicating that it might have other functions beyond its role in cardiovascular development.

6. The team's findings hold great promise for the potential use of ELABELA as a therapeutic molecule for cardiovascular disease to be used in cardiac repair and control of hypertension. As some people might have a harmful copy of the ELABELA gene in their genetic make-up, sequencing and screening for this particular gene in the general population might also help to detect predisposition to heart anomalies before the disease progresses.

7. Dr Bruno Reversade said, "The human genome has been sequenced over a decade ago. That we can still find anonymous hormones charms me. There are a still a few more to discoverbut not for long."

8. Prof Birgitte Lane, Executive Director of IMB, said, "This discovery shows great promise for the development of targeted therapies for heart disease and blood pressure control in the future. It is an excellent example of how basic research can lead to surprising and unexpected findings that may change and refine medical practice."

9. Prof Hong Wan Jin, Executive Director of IMCB, said, "I am very pleased with Bruno's achievement as it reflects the synergy of collaboration and joint efforts among various research institutes in Singapore."


'/>"/>

Contact: Vithya Selvam
vithya_selvam@a-star.edu.sg
656-826-6291
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. A*STAR scientists groundbreaking discovery of nucleus structure crucial to understanding diseases
2. A*STAR scientists solve century-old mystery by finding stable haploid strains of Candida albicans
3. A*STAR scientists discover potential drug for deadly brain cancer
4. Breakthroughs in Chikungunya research from A*STAR spell new hope for better treatment and protection
5. Scientists unearth secrets of Périgord truffles, the culinary black diamond
6. Top scientists to present at Epigenetic Control and Cellular Plasticity symposium
7. Salk scientists crack riddle of important drug target
8. Scientists stitch up photosynthetic megacomplex
9. Scripps Research Institute scientists achieve most detailed picture ever of key part of hepatitis C
10. UCLA research may help scientists understand what causes pregnancy complications
11. Scientists discover how leukemia cells exploit enhancer DNA elements to cause lethal disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
A*STAR scientists discover novel hormone essential for heart development
(Date:4/19/2016)... , UAE, April 20, 2016 ... implemented as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for ... biometric fingerprint reader or the door interface with integration ... modern access control systems. The minimal dimensions of the ... readers into the building installations offer considerable freedom of ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a new ... higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health ... mass index, and, when they opt in, share them ... to a local retail location at no cost. By ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... , March 23, 2016 ... Interesse erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit ... Inc. (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein ... dass das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um ... der Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... 04, 2016 , ... Nutrafol®, a first-to-market smart-supplement for healthy ... stress related hair loss. With patent-pending formulas for both female hair loss and ... the medical and salon channels nationwide. , Dermatologists, Plastic Surgeons and hair ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... of Dr. Nancy Gillett to its Board of Directors. Dr. Gillett recently retired ... Corporate Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer. A board-certified veterinary pathologist, Dr. ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... York, NY (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... Hill Hospital , for definitive prostate cancer treatment, patients traditionally had two main treatment ... appropriate treatment plan would be made. , New technology has enabled doctors to ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... F.E.E.D. Co., the Feline ... their revolutionary, veterinarian-designed product for indoor cats. The NoBowl Feeding System replaces the ... food the way nature intended. NoBowls make cats happy and healthy. , Since ...
Breaking Biology Technology: