Fly’s Heart: Study of its Genes to Treat Cardiac Diseases

Universidad Nacional del Noroeste de la Provincia de Buenos Aires - Escuela de Ciencias Agrarias, Naturales y Ambiantales

Diciembre 10, 2014 | 5 ′ 28 ′′


Fly’s Heart: Study of its Genes to Treat Cardiac Diseases


The insect’s organ is similar to the human’s. That is why researchers analyze the genes which cause diseases like arrhythmias and heart failure in flies with the objective of going on studying the way to prevent cardiac diseases in humans. “We are the only ones who have analyzed the genetics associated to this fly’s cardiovascular physiology”, remarked one of the researchers.

Fruit flies motivated the interest of geneticists from the Universidad Nacional del Noroeste de la Provincia de Buenos Aires (UNNOBA) by the similarities their heart has with the human heart. “The genes which regulate this fly’s and mammal’s hearts are conserved. We might say that the fly’s and human’s heart development is similar”, synthesized to Argentina Investiga Paola Ferrero, teacher of the School of Agricultural, Natural and Environmental Sciences of the University.

Due to the fact that the heart’s function is very similar, the research permits to investigate human cardiovascular diseases. “When we grow old we have the same cardiovascular diseases than fruit flies”, revealed Doctor Ferrero, director of the project and Conicet researcher.

Certainly, when human beings grow old they are prone to suffer certain heart diseases, like arrhythmias and heart failure. In this line, the research team studies what genes are responsible to produce those effects in the fly. “Consequently, we can go on studying how to prevent the genes to cause the cardiovascular diseases which come with ageing”, stated the teacher of the Licenciatura en Genética of the UNNOBA.

The study of genetics generates contributions for the treatment of this kind of diseases. “By knowing the gene responsible of the arrhythmia, we can know what is the cause of the problem”, explained Ferrero. “When it is a disease with drugs in old age, many times the effect, which can have multiple origin, is treated. In our studies we point to know the causes”, she said.

The results of this study were published in the scientific journal “PLOS One”. Within the most relevant conclusions, it is stated that ageing reduces the cardiac frequency, increases arrhythmias and modifies the kinetics of intracellular calcium, an essential component for the heart’s contraction. Besides, it was discovered that the over expression of the protein kinase, which regulates calcium in the fly’s heart, increases the heart’s frequency, reduces arrhythmias and modifies the kinetics of intracellular calcium. “Up to now we can just ensure that the changes in the levels of expression of the protein affect the heart’s function”, said Ferrero, teacher of Cellular Biology and Molecular Genetics.

If the protein kinase has those consequences, over express it might result apparently beneficial. “As long as this happens in early ages”, said Ferrero. “In athletes, who have the heart adapted to exercise, many genes are over expressed and this is beneficial”, she exemplified. Instead, according to the geneticist, in old ages the over expression of kinase is damaging.

According to what the researcher states, there is still to solve whether in flies’ old age the over expression of kinase is damaging as in humans, as the ageing symptoms of flies and humans are similar. “We have to study if in human beings’ early ages the over expression of kinase is beneficial like in the fly”, she added.

The research project, of which teacher and graduates participate, is called “Drosophila melanogaster as a model for the study of human cardiovascular diseases”. “There are no people investigating this topic in the country right now, we are the first and only who analyze genetics associated to the cardiovascular physiology of Drosophila melanogaster”, said Ferrero. In fact, the study of the fly allows them to carry out “aggressive” studies which could not be made in humans.

The project’s praxis, accredited by the UNNOBA, is carried out in the Centre of Cardiovascular Research of the Facultad de Ciencias Médicas of the Universidad Nacional de La Plata. Besides, this project has an international agreement with the Universidad autónoma de Chiapas, Mexico.

Manuela Santalla, BS in Genetics of the UNNOBA and member of the research team, detailed that transgenic lines of flies, which had the same fluorescent reporting system genetically codified which surveys calcium increment, an important element for the cardiac contraction, were used. Besides, she highlighted: “The low cost of maintenance in the laboratory and the homology between their genes and the mammals’, make possible to study human diseases in this model”. On the other hand, Ferrero said that the fly’s heart is a very small tube which requires great ability and manual skill, in addition to knowing its function.

In addition to Ferrero and Santalla, the research team is formed by Doctors Carlos Valverde, Alicia Mattiazzi and Ezequiel Lacunza (UNLP).

Ana Sagastume
comunicacion@unnoba.edu.ar
Dirección de Comunicación Institucional


Jornadas de Yerba Mate y Salud

Jornadas de Yerba Mate y Salud

Con la presencia de especialistas de Argentina y de distintos países de Latinoamérica, en la Universidad Maza de Mendoza se realizaron las V Jornadas de Yerba Mate y Salud. Durante las exposiciones, que se desarrollaron entre el 15 y 16 de agosto en la sede de la Casa de Estudios, se dieron a conocer numerosos avances en investigaciones sobre las propiedades y los beneficios del consumo de la yerba mate.

Realizan un estudio genómico de la población de Merluza Negra en el Mar Argentino

Realizan un estudio genómico de la población de Merluza Negra en el Mar Argentino

La Universidad Nacional de Tierra del Fuego (UNTDF), junto al Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas de Ushuaia (CADIC-CONICET) y el Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP) avanza en el desarrollo de una línea de investigación tendiente a analizar la variabilidad genética de las poblaciones de la especie austral que se registran en el mar argentino, con el fin de evaluar la sustentabilidad del recurso.

ADN cordobés: fuerte presencia aborigen y 4500 años de antigüedad

ADN cordobés: fuerte presencia aborigen y 4500 años de antigüedad

El 76 por ciento de los cordobeses proviene, por línea materna, de antepasados nativoamericanos, y aproximadamente el 15 por ciento pertenece a un linaje local y propio de América, que se habría desarrollado específicamente en la región central de Argentina hace miles de años. Así lo demuestra evidencia hallada por científicos del Instituto de Antropología de Córdoba (Idacor) dependiente de la UNC y el Conicet, a partir del análisis de muestras genéticas actuales y antiguas recogidas en 20 localidades de la Provincia durante los últimos 10 años.

Alimentos nutracéuticos, el futuro de la ganadería del NEA

Alimentos nutracéuticos, el futuro de la ganadería del NEA

Estos alimentos son aquellos que además del aporte nutricional están orientados a la prevención de enfermedades. Profesionales, apoyados en investigaciones realizadas, consideran factible orientar la producción ganadera regional a la obtención de carne, leche y derivados “nutracéuticos”.

Brócolis fortificados para ayudar a prevenir enfermedades

Brócolis fortificados para ayudar a prevenir enfermedades

Es la hortaliza acumuladora de selenio por excelencia, por eso investigadores de Esperanza trabajan en su biofortificación. El selenio es un elemento químico involucrado en el mecanismo de detoxificación de radicales libres y tiene efecto antioxidante, por eso se presume que hay una relación directa entre la falta de selenio, las enfermedades cardiovasculares y el desarrollo de cáncer.

Las oportunidades del sorgo para la Argentina

Las oportunidades del sorgo para la Argentina

Especialistas informaron que, además de resultar un óptimo alimento para ganado vacuno, se puede usar para aves y cerdos. Además, puede ser parte de la dieta de las personas celíacas, dado que carece de prolaminas (proteína que forma el gluten), que sí están presentes en otros cereales. En forma adicional, su cultivo mejora la calidad del suelo por el aporte de carbono.

Video channel 103