Researchers reveal new molecular mechanism involved in pancreas repair

Researchers at the University of Malaga (UMA) demonstrate that Wt1 gene deletion causes deterioration of this organ


Credit: University of Malaga

Furthermore, they have verified that, after a pancreatic damage, Wt1 gene becomes activated in the so-called stellate cells -a special type of repairing cell present in pancreas and kidney- which are responsible for the repairing process. “Without activation of Wt1, these cells cannot fulfill their function”, says the Professor Muñoz-Chápuli, who further points out the crucial role that these cells play in the progression of pancreas cancer, since they ally to tumor cells.

Thus, the results of this study reveal that Wt1 gene is necessary not only for the normal maintenance of pancreas, but also for its repair after a damage.

The Wilms’ tumor suppressor gene encodes a protein that acts as a master regulator of the function of many other genes, so, as assured by these experts, it plays an important role in the embryonic development of different organs, such as kidneys, spleen, or heart. Likewise, in recent years, findings have been proving that this functional importance also extends to adults.

This study has been published in the scientific journal PLOS Genetics. Professors Muñoz-Chápuli and Carmona worked together with the researcher Laura Ariza, from the UMA, and Anabel Rojas, from the Andalusian Molecular Biology and Regenerative Medicine Centre (CABIMER).

Finding new functions of Wt1 gene in cardiogenesis and adult hearts is the next step of this research team.



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Ariza L, Rojas A, Muñoz-Chápuli R, Carmona R (2019) The Wilms’ tumor suppressor gene regulates pancreas homeostasis and repair. PLoS Genet 15(2): e1007971.

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