Accessory cells, including glia, are components of the nervous system and regulate the microenvironment around neurons and primary sensory cells. Although the functions of primary sensory cells are well known, researchers from the University of Miami Miller College of Medicine collaborated on the study “Glial Regulators of Ions and Solutes Required for Specific Chemosensory Functions.” NematodeTo better understand the functions of accessory cells involved in regulating the concentration of charged and uncharged molecules in the body.
Research published in the December issue of the journal eye sciencewas led by Dr. Laura Bianchi, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, as corresponding and senior author. Postdoctoral researcher Dr. Lei Wang, lead author. and Bianca Graziano, MD, second author. The project was initiated in 2016 with his $25,000 support from the University of Miami SAC Pilot Award to fund initial data. In 2018, the Bianchi Lab received her more than $1 million grant from her NIH R01 to further her research.
“We started this study to learn more about the accessory cells of the sensory system,” said Dr. Bianchi. “Auxiliary cells have emerged at the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most common symptoms of viral infection is loss of taste and smell. Interestingly, auxiliary cells of the olfactory epithelium are mainly They appear to be targeted by viruses, which reveals that these cells have an important function in the sense of smell.”
genetic modification link
Bianchi Lab began learning more about accessory cells through research. Nematode, is a nematode that offers many advantages for biomedical research, including ease of genetic modification. Through the modification process, several genes, skcnq2 (mutated in epilepsy and autism spectrum disorders), were found to be important for accessory cell function in the olfactory and gustatory sensory structures of C. elegans.
In addition, these genes control the concentrations of charged and uncharged molecules, revealing that fine-tuning of the composition of the sensory environment is important for sensory function, while also improving sensory function and several neurological implications. Find potential molecular links between states.
“Nematode It’s an incredibly powerful and pioneering organism, and I’ve used it throughout my career,” said Dr. Wang. “These organisms can rapidly uncover new mechanisms that can be further investigated in higher organisms, shedding light on complex processes in mammals.”
After this initial study, the Bianchi Lab will follow up with each identified gene to determine detailed mechanisms of function in sensory perception. Findings from this study help identify novel genes expressed in sensory accessory cells and their importance in sensory function. These genes are conserved across species and may be novel targets for treating sensory disorders such as taste disorders, olfactory disorders and neuropathies.