Perspective article in Science, Vol. 355, Issue 6331, pp. 1258-1259, “Macrophage, a long-distance middlemen”
Summary of article: Macrophages are immune cells that profile for foreign viruses and cells that invade a multicellular organism, but its myriad characteristics and roles in cellular genesis and developmental biology is only beginning to be understood at both a broad and detail level through various experiment techniques. Specifically, experiments in zebrafish (Danio reio) have revealed that macrophages play critical roles in potentiating the stripe pattern formation in zebrafish by playing the role of a communication agent between two different types of cells that constitute the precursors for the stripe pattern.
This opens up a whole new way of understanding pattern formation in organisms, where the popular theory has been the secretion of a morphogen by specific cells, that in laying down a morphogen concentration gradient in the tissues of the organism, serve as signals for inducing cellular differentiation to a particular cell type. However, the model breaks down if a threshold response could not be detected in the cell types that respond to the morphogen, given that pattern formation is usually demarcated by sharp boundaries between different cell types secreting differing pigments. This suggests that another hitherto unknown mechanism capable of delineating the boundaries of the pattern must be at work in lieu of a threshold cell differentiation response from cells sensitive to the morphogen.
Link to original article: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/355/6331/1258
Category: Interesting scientific articles, biochemistry, molecular biology, developmental biology, cell biology,
Tags: morphogens, stripe pattern, developmental biology, macrophages, communication link,