A study, published in the journal Science and in which Dr. Rodrigo Young, from the Center for Integrative Biology of the U. Mayor, participates, established the role of Cachd1 in modulating the activity of the Wnt pathway in the brain, which It has many functions in health and disease.

The left and right sides of the nervous system show asymmetric properties, but it is not well understood how such differences arise. A group of researchers, including Dr. Rodrigo Young, from the Center for Integrative Biology of the Universidad Mayor, discovered a new gene that interacts with the Wnt signaling pathway, regulating lateralized neuronal identity in the zebrafish brain. The work was published in the prestigious journal Science.

Scientists discovered that if the Cachd1 gene does not work in zebrafish, then a part of the brain called the habenula loses asymmetry, and the neurons on the right develop a left-sided identity. This loss of asymmetry changes the neuronal connections of the habenula, which consequently alters the function of this brain structure.

To learn how Cachd1 works, the researchers conducted experiments to discover the proteins it binds to and identified two receptors that allow cells to respond to signaling proteins called Wnt.

“This paper is super valuable, because it allows a new entry point to understand how Wnt pathway signaling works, which is very important for many aspects of embryonic development and also cancer. This could open new therapeutic opportunities to intervene or modulate the effect of the Wnt pathway in certain cancer processes,” explained Dr. Young.

In that sense, the academic commented that “at an evolutionary level, most of the genes that are present in fish are also present in humans. So the work with animal models can be extrapolated to human development and physiology."

In particular, the Umayor researcher led the genetic screening project, in which the zebrafish mutant for Cachd1 was discovered. “It was a mutation that we found more than 10 years ago in a project where we tracked mutants in fish to see which ones lost asymmetry or when It oppose the formation of eyes, as well as other organs.” said.

Finally, Dr. Young highlighted that “this work adds a new gene in the Wnt signaling pathway, it goes into detail about how this protein works, from the molecular to the physiological. About how that embryo develops and how the brain develops, and what happens to that brain that is symmetrical."

Source: https://www.diariomayor.cl/cie...

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