To date, it has been assumed that the differentiation of stem cells depends on the environment they are embedded in. A research group at the University of Basel now describes for the first time a mechanism by which hippocampal neural stem cells regulate their own cell fate via the protein Drosha. The journal Cell Stem Cell has published their results.
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have the potential to differentiate into many cell types. However, the cell types that somatic stem cells produce are usually restricted to those of the organ in which they sit.
The current view proposes that stem cell differentiation is controlled by their local environment, the so-called niche. Thus, stem cells receive and interpret specific factors present in their niche that guide their differentiation into specific and restricted cell types.
In the adult brain, the hippocampus is responsible for specific forms of memory – a brain region that is also affected in diseases such as dementia, depression and epilepsy. The functions of the hippocampus are based on different cell types, some of which are generated throughout life by neural stem cells.
Neural stem cells are generally accepted to produce three different cell types: neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. However, the adult hippocampus does not produce oligodendrocytes – the reason for this was so far not known.
Intrinsic cell mechanism
Researchers from the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basel have now found that the fate of adult hippocampal stem cells is not only controlled by their local niche, but also by a cell-intrinsic mechanism. Their study describes the central role of the enzyme Drosha in this mechanism.
Drosha degrades the messenger RNA for NFIB in the adult hippocampal stem cells and prevents the expression of this transcription factor which is necessary for the differentiation of oligodendrocytes and thus blocks their development and therefore biases differentiation towards neurons.
The team lead by Prof. Verdon Taylor was able to demonstrate for the first time a cell-intrinsic mechanism regulating stem cell fate. «Our research results about the function of Drosha challenge the way we used to think about how stem cell fate is controlled», says cell biologist Taylor. His research group now wants to study if and how stem cells are able to modulate the activity of Drosha in order to satisfy demand.
Chiara Rolando, Andrea Erni, Alice Grison, Robert Beattie, Anna Engler, Paul J. Gokhale, Marta Milo,Thomas Wegleiter, Sebastian Jessberger, and Verdon Taylor
Multipotency of Adult Hippocampal NSCs In Vivo Is Restricted by Drosha/NFIB
Cell Stem Cell (2016) | DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2016.07.003
Verdon Taylor, University of Basel, Department of Biomedicine, phone: +41 61 207 30 91, email: email@example.com
Olivia Poisson | Universität Basel
20.11.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis
Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity
20.11.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences
20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences
20.11.2017 | Life Sciences