Learning about the nature of tissue stem cells can help scientists understand exactly how our organs are built, and why some organs generate cancer frequently, but others only rarely.
New work from Carnegie's Alexis Marianes and Allan Spradling used some of the most experimentally accessible tissue stem cells, the adult stem cells in the midsection of the fruit fly gut, with surprising results. Their findings are published by eLife.
Like the small intestine in mammals, the midgut of fruit flies is where most digestion takes place. Scientists had noticed a few regions in both the midgut and small intestine were specialized for certain tasks, such as absorbing iron, but had little understanding of the extent of these regional differences or how they were maintained.
Marianes and Spradling were able to demonstrate that there are 10 different major subregions within the fruit fly midgut. They occur in a specific order and each is responsible for different digestive and nutrient-storage processes, as evidenced by the expression of many specific genes. Most importantly, the adult stem cells in each region are specialized as well, and only support the types of cells found within it. Thus, during development, achieving the right spatial sequence of stem cells is probably critical to causing intestines to be built and maintained in order to function optimally.
The researchers also showed that tumors arise preferentially in specific regions of the midgut, a phenomenon well known in oncology. They showed the tumor-prone regions were specialized for lipid absorption, and stem cell function in them differed in small ways from stem cell function in other regions.
This work will motivate the search for fine-grained specialization in both tissue organization and in stem cells within many mammalian tissues. These subtle differences may explain the surprising results that are sometimes obtained following the removal or transplantation of human tissue. This must be considered carefully in ongoing attempts to utilize stem cells therapeutically.
Finally, it may be possible to learn what makes some stem cells more susceptible to cancer than others, and develop strategies to counteract this tendency.
This work was funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institue.
The Carnegie Institution for Science is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with six research departments throughout the U.S. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.
Allan Spradling | EurekAlert!
Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction