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Toronto researchers gain understanding of embryonic wound repair

Courtesy of Miranda Hunter, U of T

Researchers at the University of Toronto (U of T) and the Hospital for Sick Children have shed light on ways to improve wound recovery in humans by using time-lapse photography of how wounds in embryos of fruit flies heal, according to a study published in the Journal of Cell Biology (Aug. 24, 2015; 210(5):801-816).

The investigators found that the process of endocytosis drives rapid embryonic healing. "Endocytosis removes the junctions between wounded and non-wounded cells, to allow the non-wounded cells to move and stretch over the wounded area to close the wound,” stated Miranda Hunter, a PhD candidate in the Department of Cell & Systems Biology at U of T and the lead author of the study, in a press release.

The researchers further found that endocytosis coordinates the movement of the non-wounded cells as they close the wound, by directing the formation of a structure known as a "purse string". The structure assembles around the wound and rapidly contracts to draw the surrounding cells together and close the wound.

"Wounds in embryos heal very quickly and with very little inflammation or scarring," said Hunter. "Our hope is that by understanding how embryos repair wounds, we can translate our understanding into more efficient treatments to induce adult cells to move into the wound area in a coordinated way as embryonic cells do."

More information published in the Journal of Cell Biology

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