A single gene can control brain cell growth in humans, research shows

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

Controlling how cells grow is fundamental to ensuring proper brain development and stopping aggressive brain tumors. The network of molecules that control brain cell growth is thought to be complex and vast, but now McGill University researchers provide striking evidence of a single gene that can, by itself, control brain cell growth in humans.

In a paper published recently in Stem Cell reports, Carl Ernst, an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University and his team have shown that the loss of the FOXG1 gene in brain cells from patients with severe microcephaly - a disease where the brain does not grow large enough - reduces brain cell growth.

Using genetic engineering, they turned on FOXG1 in cells from a microcephaly patient to different levels and showed corresponding increases in brain cell growth. They have uncovered a remarkable dimmer switch to turn brain cell growth up or down.

Their research indicates that a single gene could potentially be targeted to stop brain tumor cells from growing. Or that future gene therapy might allow this same gene to be turned up in patients with microcephaly or other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Journal reference:

Hettige, N.C., et al. (2022) FOXG1 dose tunes cell proliferation dynamics in human forebrain progenitor cells. Stem Cell Reports. doi.org/10.1016/j.stemcr.2022.01.010.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
New insights into how exercise may help prevent or slow cognitive decline during aging