Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new short cut for stem cell programming

22.03.2012
Researchers at the University of Bonn artificially derive brain stem cells directly from the connective tissue of mice.

Scientists at the Life & Brain Research Center at the University of Bonn, Germany, have succeeded in directly generating brain stem cells from the connective tissue cells of mice. These stem cells can reproduce and be converted into various types of brain cells.

To date, only reprogramming in brain cells that were already fully developed or which had only a limited ability to divide was possible. The new reprogramming method presented by the Bonn scientists and submitted for publication in July 2011 now enables derivation of brain stem cells that are still immature and able to undergo practically unlimited division to be extracted from conventional body cells. The results have now been published in the current edition of the prestigious journal “Cell Stem Cell.”

The Japanese stem cell researcher Professor Shinya Yamanaka and his team produced stem cells from the connective tissue cells of mice for the first time in 2006; these cells can differentiate into all types of body cells. These induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) develop via reprogramming into a type of embryonic stage. This result made the scientific community sit up and take notice. If as many stem cells as desired can be produced from conventional body cells, this holds great potential for medical developments and drug research.

“Now a team of scientists from the University of Bonn has proven a variant for this method in a mouse model,” report Dr. Frank Edenhofer and his team at the Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology (Director: Dr. Oliver Brüstle) of the University of Bonn. Also involved were the epileptologists and the Institute of Human Genetics of the University of Bonn, led by Dr. Markus Nöthen, who is also a member of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Edenhofer and his co-workers Marc Thier, Philipp Wörsdörfer and Yenal B. Lakes used connective tissue cells from mice as a starting material. Just as Yamanaka did, they initiated the conversion with a combination of four genes. “We however deliberately targeted the production of neural stem cells or brain stem cells, not pluripotent iPS multipurpose cells,” says Edenhofer. These cells are known as somatic or adult stem cells, which can develop into the cells typical of the nervous system, neurons, oligodendrocytes and astrocytes.

The gene “Oct4” is the central control factor

The gene “Oct4” is a crucial control factor. “First, it prepares the connective tissue cell for reprogramming, later, however, Oct4 appears to prevent destabilized cells from becoming brain stem cells” reports the Bonn stem cell researcher. While this factor is switched on during reprogramming of iPS cells over a longer period of time, the Bonn researchers activate the factor with special techniques for only a few days. “If this molecular switch is toggled over a limited period of time, the brain stem cells, which we refer to as induced neural stem cells (iNS cells), can be reached directly,“ said Edenhofer. “Oct4 activates the process, destabilizes the cells and clears them for the direct reprogramming. However, we still need to analyze the exact mechanism of the cellular conversion.“

The scientists at the University of Bonn have thus found a new way to reprogram cells, which is considerably faster and also safer in comparison to the iPS cells and embryonic stem cells. “Since we cut down on the reprogramming of the cells via the embryonic stage, our method is about two to three times faster than the method used to produce iPS cells,“ stresses Edenhofer. Thus the work involved and the costs are also much lower. In addition, the novel Bonn method is associated with a dramatically lower risk of tumors. As compared to other approaches, the Bonn scientists’ method stands out due to the production of neural cells that can be multiplied to a nearly unlimited degree.

Low risk of tumor and unlimited self renewal

A low risk of tumor formation is important because in the distant future, neural cells will replace defective cells of the nervous system. A vision of the various international scientific teams is to eventually create adult stem cells for example from skin or hair root cells, differentiate these further for therapeutic purposes, and then implant them in damaged areas. “But that is still a long way off,“ says Edenhofer. However, the scientists have a rather urgent need today for a simple way to obtain brain stem cells from the patient to use them to study various neurodegenerative diseases and test drugs in a Petri dish. “Our work could form the basis for providing practically unlimited quantities of the patient’s own cells.“ The current study was initially conducted on mice. “We are now extremely eager to see whether these results can also be applied to humans,“ says the Bonn scientist.

Publication: Direct conversion of fibroblasts into stably expandable neural stem cells, Cell Stem Cell, DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2012.03.003

In the printed edition at April 6th 2012.

Contact information:

Dr. Frank Edenhofer
Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology
Tel. 0228/6885-529
E-Mail: f.edenhofer@uni-bonn.de

Johannes Seiler | idw
Further information:
http://www3.uni-bonn.de/Pressemitteilungen/073-2012

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>