The findings show moreover that cells exposed to the signal for short periods become olfactory cells, while long periods of exposure give rise to lens cells. Otherwise it is a common mechanism for differing concentrations of a signal molecule to lead to different cell types.
This discovery, that differences in the length of exposure but not the concentration of the same signal determine the formation of two fundamentally different sensory organs, is of key importance to our understanding of how different types of cells are formed during the fetal period.
The findings have been published in the journal Developmental Cell.
Citation: M Sjödal, T Edlund, L Gunhaga: Time of Exposure to BMP Signals Plays a Key Role in the Specification of the Olfactory and Lens Placodes Ex Vivo, Developmental Cell, Volume 13, 141-149, 2007.
Source: Swedish Research Council