||Professor Jeremy Nathans, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Neuroscience, Ophthalmology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Johns Hopkins Medical School, USA
Vascular development in the central nervous system (CNS) - the brain, spinal cord, and retina - is controlled by beta-catenin signaling (also called canonical Wnt signaling). Ligands produced by glia and neurons act on receptors and co-receptors on the surface of vascular endothelial cells to induce changes in gene expression that promote CNS angiogenesis. Genetic defects in receptors, ligands, co-receptors, and other auxiliary proteins result in hypovascularization and tissue hypoxia in both humans and mice. Remarkably, the same signaling system is used later in life to control development of the Blood-Brain Barrier, a CNS-specific program of gene expression that keeps toxic compounds out of the CNS and mediates active transport of essential compounds, such as glucose and amino acids, across the capillary wall. This role for beta-catenin signaling has implications for a wide variety of CNS diseases.
Jeremy Nathans教授は、スタンフォード大学の大学院生の時に、人間の色覚を担 うOpsin遺伝子群を世界で初めて単離、解析し、色覚のメカニズムを解明したこ とで著名です。