Neural Development

Using techniques that took 4 years to design, a team of developmental biologists has shown that certain proteins can direct the subdivision of fruit fly and chicken nervous system tissue into the regions depicted here in blue, green, and red. Molecules called bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) helped form this fruit fly embryo. While scientists knew that BMPs play a major role earlier in embryonic development, they didn't know how the proteins help organize nervous tissue. The findings suggest that BMPs are part of an evolutionarily conserved mechanism for organizing the nervous system. Courtesy of Mieko Mizutani and Ethan Bier of the University of California, San Diego, and Henk Roelink of the University of Washington.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke also supported this work.

Featured in the October 17, 2006, issue of Biomedical Beat.
High res. image (178 KB JPEG)