Flies and mice express common genes in response to brain damage
Sleeping neural stem cells are awaken by neuro-glia clusters after damage in the fly brain
PhD candidate Irene Durá Esteve and Dr. Juanma Encinas from the laboratory of Neural Stem Cells and Neurogenesis joined efforts with Dr. Christa Rhiner at Champalimaud Foundation (Lisbon) to investigate how the brain responds to injury.
In the collaborative work, led by Dr. Rhiner and published in the prestigious journal Developmental Cell, the authors report the discovery of a new molecular mechanism related to brain's response to damage. Dormant neural stem cells scattered in the fly (Drospohila) brain are awaken for regenerative purpose by groups of neurons and glia cells that work together after damage. The recruitment and activation of dormant neural stem cells is triggered by the release from neuro-glia clusters of a stem cell factor called Swim.
Irene Durá and JM Encinas showed that the mammalian equivalent of Swim, called Lcn7, is upregulated in glial cells in the mouse brain after damage. This work uncovers a new mechanism regenerative processes in the injured brain also open venues for the fly-to-mouse translation of evolutionary conserved responses that could harness therapeutic potential.