[Prof. Hyun Seo-gang and a student named Lee Gang-jun on the doctoral course of
CAU’s Department of Life Science]
A research team under the leadership of Prof. Hyun Seo-gang of the Department of Life Science, the College of Natural Sciences, Chung-Ang University (CAU), discovered that nutritional condition of drosophila larvae influences the level of sex hormone activity, and based on this, established a process of changing growth signals. The team’s research result, entitled “Steroid signaling mediates nutritional regulation of juvenile body growth via IGF-binding protein in Drosophila (Prof. Hyun Seo-gang, the corresponding author; a student on the doctoral course named Lee Gang-jun, the first author),” was published in a notable academic journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), on May 21st, 2018. CAU’s research team successfully formulated a principle from a molecular genetic perspective that nutritional condition during juvenile growth period greatly affects physical growth.
It was found by the research team that nutritional restriction in third (or later) instar larvae increases levels of the steroid hormone, known as ecdysone, and this activates production of Imaginal morphogenesis protein-Late 2 (Imp-L2), a Drosophila homolog of insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 7 (IGFBP7). This ultimately not only lowers insulin signaling in Drosophila, but also suppresses body growth. The whole mechanism was first revealed by CAU’s research team.
Prof. Hyun-led research team had found the mechanism of how steroid hormone regulates body growth, featured in Genes & Development in 2012. This research, as a follow-up study, laid the foundation for developing a noble treatment and prevention measure of growth disorders, caused by juvenile malnutrition and testosterone-estrogen imbalance.
The College of Natural Sciences’ research laboratory solely led this research project and delivered a fruitful result. This clearly indicates that it has much potential to grow into a research-centered higher institution with world-class research capabilities.