Group of Moises Mallo wins Melo e Castro Prize

The group of Moises Mallo at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência was awarded the 2014 Melo e Castro Prize (200.000 euro) of Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa (SCML) for the project "Improving cell substrates for spinal regeneration therapies".  The goal of the Melo e Castro Prize is to promote the development of new responses in the recovery and treatment of vertebral-spinal cord injuries, and ultimately contribute for the improvement of the life quality of patients. For more information, see here

N-Cadherin Locks Left-Right Asymmetry

The group of Leonor Saúde publish in Developmental Cell: In chicken embryos, molecular asymmetries at Hensen’s node are created by leftward cell movements that occur transiently. We show that N-cadherin can prevent cells to continue indefinitely this movement, thus maintaining the already established asymmetries. We also show that when N-cadherin function is blocked the expression pattern of fgf8 and nodal in the node changes, leading to an altered asymmetry in the Lateral Plate Mesoderm. These findings indicate that asymmetric N-cadherin in the node locks the leftward cell movement and left-right asymmetry. See article here.


The team of Susana Lopes publishes in Developmental Cell

Susana Lopes’ team discovered that the pattern of fluid dynamics observed in the Kupffer’s vesicle, the left-right organizer of the zebrafish embryo, can be used to predict if the position of the internal organs, such as the heart or liver, will be correctly placed or not. They found that the left-right organizer in zebrafish requires the functional motility of at least 30 cilia, with some clustering in the anterior region, for the correct establishment of laterality of the internal organs.  See the article on the Dev Cell website

Currents in zebrafish caudal fin regeneration

The team of Joaquín Rodríguez-León recently implicated, for the first time, a  specific channel in the cell membrane, called V-ATPase, in caudal fin regeneration of adult zebrafish. This channel pumps hydrogen ions (H+) out of the cells, thus generating an electrical current that aids correct tissue  regeneration. See the Plos one website and comment on Science daily.

A clock in limb patterning

Caroline Sheeba, Raquel Andrade and Isabel Palmeirim have recently published a featured perspective article in the Journal of Molecular Biology. In this article they present an integrated temporal and spatial model for limb patterning, proposing that the limb Clock may allow temporal information to be decoded into positional information when the distance between opposing signaling gradients is no longer sufficient to provide distinct cell fate specification. The authors were also invited to prepare a figure for the cover of the Journal of Molecular Biology! See the JMB website.