Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Well Packed

Importance of PI3K signalling pathway and chromatin packing in lung development revealed

01 November 2022

Well Packed

You probably wear the jeans that are in easy reach at the top of your overstuffed drawers more than those tucked at the back. Some genes, too, are easier to reach than others. Genetic material is tightly packed into a structure called chromatin, and which genes are expressed can depend on how this packing unfurls. Researchers hoping to understand how these structural changes guide the development of our lungs compared gene activity to packing structure in mouse lung starter cells (pictured) that produce a protein called Sox9 (red). They identified the proteins responsible for chromatin reshaping, and key signalling pathways vital to healthy lung development. Mice with a particular molecular pathway blocked failed to produce healthy lung linings and developed defective lungs. This knowledge could lead to explanations of how some developmental lung diseases take hold, and perhaps even reveal which existing treatments could be repurposed for other conditions.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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