Protein Spotlight Update: life's first breath

Protein Spotlight Update: life's first breath

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We give very little thought to the first breath we took as we entered this side of reality, and yet it was one of the most traumatic experiences we have ever been through. So much so, it is probably not such a bad thing that we have no – conscious – recollection of it. Each one of us spent the most part of nine months floating in amniotic fluid inside our mother, with oxygen being pumped into us via the umbilical cord. Once born, the umbilical cord is taken away from us and we have to find another way of providing our body with oxygen. Fast. That’s when the tiny newborn – that we all were – starts using its airways which, up to that point, had been on standby. Something, however, has to boost them into action. Recently, researchers discovered the doings of a protein, known as ‘teashirt homolog 3’, which has shown that it most probably has a direct role in life’s first breath - not in sparking it off but in preparing the grounds to welcome oxygen and deliver it to every part of our body.

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