Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cells traverse developmental divide via Blimp

03.11.2008
A method for single-cell genomic profiling has helped researchers to identify a putative ‘master switch’ for reproductive cell development in the mouse embryo

An animal’s reproductive capabilities are established early in development, when a homogeneous embryonic cell population gives rise to two distinct cell types—somatic cells that form the vast majority of body tissues, and primordial germ cells (PGCs) that ultimately yield spermatozoa or ova.

Identifying genes responsible for ‘programming’ PGC development will be essential to fully understand this essential developmental process. Unfortunately, existing techniques for large-scale gene expression profiling are designed for use with multicellular samples—an ineffective strategy for PGC analysis.

“PGCs are small in number—especially at early stages—and are embedded in somatic neighbors,” explains Mitinori Saitou, of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe. “Therefore, for systematically identifying genes specific to PGCs, single-cell analysis is considered to be essential.” Prior work from Saitou’s team identified several genes potentially important to PGC development. Now, his group has developed a powerful new technique for preparation and amplification of nucleic acids from individual cells, enabling stage-specific genomic profiling of mouse PGCs in unprecedented detail1.

The researchers focused on identifying genes regulated by Blimp1, a gene identified in their earlier work2. After analyzing PGCs from various developmental stages, it became clear that Blimp1 expression specifically increases in these cells over time. They also observed that although early-stage PGCs exhibit expression profiles for certain developmental genes that are similar to those observed in somatic cells, continued expression of Blimp1 leads to reversal of these expression patterns, actively driving development onto a PGC-specific trajectory.

A broader comparison of stage-specific gene expression in PGCs and somatic cells enabled Saitou’s team to assemble clusters of genes that are generally up- or down-regulated by Blimp1, allowing them to be categorized respectively as ‘specification’ or ‘somatic’ genes. Certain gene types were enriched for each category—including cell division regulators for the somatic genes and effectors of germ cell development for the specification genes—and each category also contained distinct sets of genes involved in embryonic development and body pattern formation.

Follow-up analyses confirmed that Blimp1 plays a central role in managing appropriate regulation of both somatic and specification genes for PGC development. “To me, the fact that Blimp1 represses essentially all the genes normally repressed in PGCs in comparison to their somatic neighbors is the most important finding,” says Saitou. Now, having glimpsed the ‘big picture’, Saitou’s team hunting for the primary target genes for Blimp1, and the mechanism by which it switches them on to set PGC development in motion.

1. Kurimoto, K., Yabuta, Y., Ohinata, Y., Shigeta, M., Yamanaka, K. & Saitou, M. Complex genome-wide transcription dynamics orchestrated by Blimp1 for the specification of the germ cell lineage in mice. Genes & Development 22, 1617–1635 (2008).

2. Ohinata, Y., Payer, B., O’Carroll, D., Ancelin, K., Ono, Y., Sano, M., Barton, S.C., Obukhanych, T., Nussenzweig, M., Tarakhovsky, A., et al. Blimp1 is a critical determinant of the germ cell lineage in mice. Nature 436, 207–213 (2005).

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the RIKEN Laboratory for Mammalian Germ Cell Biology

Saeko Okada | ResearchSEA
Further information:
http://www.rikenresearch.riken.jp/research/568/
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

nachricht Chlamydia: How bacteria take over control
28.03.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create artificial materials atom-by-atom

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers show p300 protein may suppress leukemia in MDS patients

28.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>