The cellular cause of birth defects like cleft palates, missing teeth and problems with fingers and toes has been a tricky puzzle for scientists.
Now Professor Emily Bates and her biochemistry students at Brigham Young University have placed an important piece of the developmental puzzle. They studied an ion channel that regulates the electrical charge of a cell. In a new study published by the journal Development, they show that blocking this channel disrupts the work of a protein that is supposed to carry marching orders to the nucleus.
Without those instructions, cells don't become what they were supposed to become -- be that part of a palate, a tooth or a finger. Though there are various disorders that lead to birth defects, this newly discovered mechanism may be what some syndromes have in common.
Bates and her graduate student, Giri Dahal, now want to apply the findings toward the prevention of birth defects -- particularly those caused by fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.Add a comment Add a comment