These were the findings of researchers at the laboratory of Dr. Frank Rosenbauer of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch in cooperation with the laboratory of Professor Sten Eirik W. Jacobsen (Lund University, Sweden and the University of Oxford, England). Furthermore, the researchers showed that DNA methylation also plays a crucial role for cancer stem cells (Nature Genetics, online, doi: doi:10.1038/ng.463)*.
A group of three enzymes, the DNA methyltransferases (Dnmt) regulates the addition of methyl groups to the DNA (DNA methylation). One of these enzymes - Dnmt1 - is responsible for the maintenance of the marks with the methyl groups, the DNA methylation pattern, because the distribution of the methyl groups on the DNA decides which genes are transcribed and which are blocked. Researchers speak in this context of epigenetic information, in contrast to genetic information.
However, it was unclear until now whether DNA methylation plays a special role in the control of hematopoietic stem cell characteristics. From the HSCs all of the blood cells of the body are formed. Since blood cells have only a limited lifetime, the body must form new blood cells over and over again. The pool for this is generated by the HSCs.
In order to discover what function DNA methylation has for HSCs, the two doctoral students Ann-Marie Bröske and Lena Vockentanz of the MDC research laboratory of Dr. Rosenbauer switched off the enzyme Dnmt1 in the mice. As a result, the animals were not viable because the hematopoietic stem cell function was completely disturbed.
By contrast, when the two researchers arranged that the HSCs formed just a little Dnmt1, the animals survived, but the HSCs lost their potential for self-renewal. Moreover, the HSCs were restricted in their formation of B cells and T cells (blood cells of the lymphatic system and important cells of the immune system).
However, the HSCs were able to form red blood cells, which are important for oxygen transport and belong to the blood cells of the myeloerythroid system. In other words, the DNA methylation level regulates which blood cell lineages develop or not from a hematopoietic stem cell.
If the DNA methylation level is low, cancer stem cell renewal is restricted. Moreover, the formation of leukemic cells of B-cell lineage (acute B-cell leukemia - ALL) is blocked.
The question is whether diseased stem cells can be switched off, possibly through a blockade of the enzyme Dnmt1. Dr. Rosenbauer and his research team want to make a more detailed investigation of this question in a further project.*DNA methylation protects hematopoietic stem cell multipotency from myeloerythroid restriction
*These authors contributed equally to this work.Barbara Bachtler
Barbara Bachtler | Max-Delbrück-Centrum
MicroRNA helps cancer evade immune system
19.09.2017 | Salk Institute
Ruby: Jacobs University scientists are collaborating in the development of a new type of chocolate
18.09.2017 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.
Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
19.09.2017 | Event News
19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering