Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Regulatory network balances stem cell maintenance, differentiation

12.01.2010
While much of the promise of stem cells springs from their ability to develop into any cell type in the body, the biological workings that control that maturation process are still largely unknown.

Writing in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week (Jan. 11), scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California-Irvine present a new model of stem cell regulation.

Working with the small roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, the researchers describe how a network of regulatory factors can maintain a stable pool of stem cells while launching a second pool of cells on the path toward maturing into differentiated cells with specific functions.

"This gives us a different way to think about how stem cells are controlled to leave their stem cell state and enter into a differentiated state," says Judith Kimble, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and UW-Madison professor of biochemistry who led the study.

"I think the basic principle is one that is very broadly applicable. The regulatory network is geared to define two states — the stem cell state and the differentiated state — and it's the regulation of that network that's important," Kimble says. "My guess is that this will also be true in other stem cell systems."

Regulation of the transition from stem cell to mature cell is important for a number of reasons, she says. Disruption of the balance between the two states could lead to tumors or loss of the ability to maintain healthy tissues.

Using the relatively simple worm allows them to study how stem cell populations respond to various physiological parameters in a whole animal and should help guide efforts to harness their blank-slate properties and to understand human diseases.

"Looking in vivo at how a stem cell is controlled to go from one state to another is really important if you want to intervene or engineer. This provides us a new way of thinking about it," Kimble says.

The new model also describes how a previously identified intermediate population of cells, possessing some properties of each state, probably reflects a gradual maturation process.

The specific factors that trigger cells to leave the stem cell state and begin to differentiate are still unknown, the scientists say, but the network of known regulatory factors already well understood in the worm provides several possibilities.

"Many of the same molecules control stem cells and development in humans and are involved in aberrant conditions," like leukemia and other cancers, Kimble says. "We hope to establish a procedure for understanding them in more complex systems."

In addition to Kimble, the paper was authored by Sarah Crittenden, Olivier Cinquin, and Dyan Morgan. Additional funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health.

Judith Kimble | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wisc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New application for acoustics helps estimate marine life populations
16.01.2018 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Unexpected environmental source of methane discovered
16.01.2018 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

White graphene makes ceramics multifunctional

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Breaking bad metals with neutrons

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

ISFH-CalTeC is “designated test centre” for the confirmation of solar cell world records

16.01.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>