NYIT (New York Institute of Technology) has been awarded $442,000 to pursue research into a gene critical in the formation and healing of bones. The United States’ National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Life Sciences professor Michael Hadjiargyrou, Ph.D., a multi-year grant to study a newly discovered musculoskeletal specific gene, Mustn1, and to determine its role in cartilage regeneration and skeletal repair. Hadjiargyrou’s research will also begin to elucidate a new and as yet uncharacterized protein family important for cartilage and bone biology.
The NIH funds will support generating genetically altered mice where Mustn1 is deleted at various stages of development. Experiments with these mice, known as knockout (KO) mice, constitute “the gold standard in gene/protein function analysis.” Using KO mice will allow Hadjiargyrou’s team, including NYIT students, to establish conclusively that Mustn1 is a key regulator in cartilage cells and is necessary for cartilage formation during embryonic development and also fracture repair.
Hadjiargyrou has spent much of his career working at the molecular and cellular level of skeletal repair, and Mustn1 was first discovered in his laboratory. It represents a newly discovered family of proteins, MUSTANG, which stands for Musculoskeletal Temporally Activated Novel Gene. While Hadjiargyrou’s prior research has demonstrated that Mustn1 is a factor in cartilage formation, he and his team are eager to take the next step: finding out its exact significance during bone development and regeneration by analyzing various conditions with and without the presence of the gene.