Single Enzyme Necessary For Normal Brain, Vertebrae, Urogenital Tract And Lower Body Development In Mammals

Two independent research teams have discovered that a single enzyme is necessary for normal brain, vertebrae, urogenital tract and lower body embryological development in mammals. Dr. Hiroshi Hamada of Japan, Dr. Martin Petkovich of Canada, and their colleagues report in jointly published papers that the enzyme CPY26 metabolizes retinoic acid, an essential derivative of vitamin A. Retinoic acid (RA) regulates development by activating the expression of specific target genes throughout the embryo. The formation of an uneven distribution of RA along the central body axis of the developing embryo is essential for normal development.