Genes involved in wound healing identified

July 27, 2006

Scottish scientists say they have identified two of the genes essential for wound healing mediated by endogenous electrical currents.

The University of Aberdeen researchers have visualized wound healing guided by an electric field and identified the genes governing the process as PI(3)Kgamma and PTEN.

Previous research has shown damage to epithelial tissue such as skin results in strong, directional ion flow and generates an internal electrical field. Such fields are thought to guide moving cells by a process known as electrotaxis, in order to heal the wound. However, direct evidence of such electrically guided cell movement has been lacking until now.

A team of university researchers led by Min Zhao and Josef Penninger used time-lapse photography to visualize electrotaxis in animal cell and tissue cultures. They found wounds may close faster or be driven open, depending on the direction of externally applied electrical signals similar in strength to those occurring naturally.

The researchers also identified the genes that control electrotaxis as PI(3)Kgamma and PTEN, and propose electrical signals may be used in the future to direct cell growth during wound healing in cell and tissue engineering.

The study appears in the journal Nature.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: New mechanisms of self-organization in living cells

Related Stories

New mechanisms of self-organization in living cells

November 24, 2015

Chromosomes are structures inside cell nuclei that carry a large part of the genetic information and are responsible for its storage, transfer and implementation. Chromosomes are formed from a very long DNA molecule—a double ...

Why some genes are highly expressed

November 5, 2015

The DNA in our cells is folded into millions of small packets, like beads on a string, allowing our two-meter linear DNA genomes to fit into a nucleus of only about 0.01 mm in diameter. However, these molecular beads, called ...

Recommended for you


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.