Protein stress influences brain development

Max Planck scientists Sebastian Leidel and Danny Nedialkova illuminate important mechanism

December 07, 2015

During brain development, cells have to divide and differentiate in a very coordinated way. An international team around Laurent Nguyen (GIGA Institute of the University Liege, Belgium) and Sebastian Leidel (Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster) has identified an important switch that controls this process. By examining mouse mutants, they could show that the production of falsly folded proteins causes a signal that changes the differentiation of neurons. As a result, mice are born with smaller brains. This work shows that an important mechanism, which the group of Sebastian Leidel discovered in yeast and nematodes, is also effective in vertebrates. This successful international cooperation originated from a chance encounter of the scientists Danny Nedialkova and Juliette Godin at a scientific conference (Developmental Cell, online first December 7, 2015).

Tissue section through the embryonic cortex of a mouse:
The various cell types are differently stained in the section. This enables a good view on the different cortical layers.

Tissue section of an embryonic cortex:
In the tissue section, neurons can be observed during development. Intermediate cells are stained in red. Precursor cells are stained in blue. Actively differentiating cells are marked in green.

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