Redundancy of nutrition-sensing proteins in brain development and their role in fertility in fruit flies
The early stages of development involve a lot of cooperation – processes that will become distinct are still linked, proteins share jobs. In adult organisms, just as young ones, this redundancy between roles allows for flexibility – if one molecule is damaged, another picks up the slack. In this developing fruit fly (Drosophila) brain, supportive glial cells (highlighted in pink) surround the branches of early nerve cells blue), helping to circulate nutritious chemicals around the central nervous system. Three glial genes are switched on, which in turn make the proteins Rumpel (green) Bumpel and Kumpel, that help to transport these important chemicals. Researchers find redundancy between them – deliberately removing combinations of the trio often calls on the remaining proteins to step up. But removing all three reveals a surprising link – disruption to the fly’s egg-forming oogenesis, suggesting a similar link between the brain and fertility may exist in our own development.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.