Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Chemistry Meets Biology

Importance of metabolic process called glycolytic flux in embryo development revealed

27 December 2022

Chemistry Meets Biology

Chemistry makes your tissues work. Specifically, chemical processes called metabolism. Researchers now investigate how metabolism affects tissue development too. Using mouse embryos, they looked at a developing tissue called mesoderm and the impact of glycolytic flux – a chemical process that breaks down sugars without using oxygen. An enzyme in mouse embryos was genetically engineered to increase glycolytic flux. In these mutants, the mesoderm failed to organise into segments. Analysing the distribution of proteins in mutant mesoderm cells, they found the location of glycolytic enzymes had changed. As high sugar levels are known to increase glycolytic flux, the team next looked at mutant embryos from diabetic mothers. Using fluorescent microscopy, they revealed these mutant embryos (pictured, right) had defects in the formation of early neural tissue called the neural tube and more cell death (yellow) when compared with normal embryos (left). Glycolytic flux, therefore, regulates tissue development in a myriad of ways.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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