Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Death dance reveals secrets of apoptosis in dissociated human ES cells

Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology have unraveled the mystery of why human embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells undergo programmed cell death (apoptosis) when cultured in isolation.

By unlocking the potential of cell therapy techniques, the discovery promises new hope to sufferers of debilitating degenerative diseases.

Cell dissociation, a technique for isolating cells in procedures such as subcloning, poses one of the greatest obstacles to effective stem cell research due to its damaging effects on human ES cells. 99% of human ES cells cultured in this way are destroyed by an extensive apoptotic response that is curiously absent in mouse ES cells. Earlier research by the researchers uncovered that inhibition of a protein known as the Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) reduced this rate of cell death by 30%, yet fundamental questions remained about the mechanisms involved.

To answer these questions, the researchers applied live-cell imaging to the earliest phase of dissociation in human and mouse ES cells. Results revealed a striking contrast: whereas the mouse ES cells hardly moved, the human ES cells skittered about in a so-called “death dance”, immediately sprouting finger-shaped bulges, known as blebs, which grew until the cells burst and died. The researchers traced this early-onset blebbing, whose duration and severity exceeded anything ever before observed, to the hyperactivation of myosin, a type of protein responsible for cell motility.

Contrary to expectation, the researchers went on demonstrate that it is this myosin hyperactivation, mediated by activation of the ROCK kinase, which is the direct cause of apoptosis in dissociated human ES cells, and not the blebbing itself. Further implicated in this process is the inhibition of another protein known for its role in cell motility, Rac, which together with ROCK activation strongly promotes myosin hyperactivation leading to cell death.

Reported in Cell Stem Cell, these results provide a first ever comprehensive elucidation of mechanisms underlying dissociation-induced apoptosis in human ES cells, pointing the way to safer and more effective cellular therapy treatments for a range of debilitating degenerative diseases.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Yoshiki Sasai
Laboratory for Organogenesis and Neurogenesis
RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology
Tel: +81-(0)78-306-1841 / Fax: +81-(0)78-306-1854
Ms. Tomoko Ikawa (PI officer)
Global Relations Office
Tel: +81-(0)48-462-1225 / Fax: +81-(0)48-463-3687
Journal information
1. Ohgushi et al., Molecular Pathway and Cell State Responsible for Dissociation-Induced Apoptosis in Human Pluripotent Stem Cells, Cell Stem Cell (2010), doi:10.1016/j.stem.2010.06.018

gro-pr | Research asia research news
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Don't Give the Slightest Chance to Toxic Elements in Medicinal Products
23.03.2018 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)

nachricht North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>