Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New stem cell maintenance protein found

02.12.2002


Scientists have identified a critical, new stem cell protein – a marked advance in the elucidation of the molecular blueprint of stem cells.



Drs. Robert Tsai and Ronald McKay at the NIH have discovered a novel gene, called nucleostemin, whose encoded protein is necessary for maintaining the proliferative capacity of embryonic and adult stem cells, and possibly some types of cancer cells. Their report is published in the December 1 issue of the scientific journal Genes & Development.

Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent progenitor cells that can differentiate into all of the cell types of the body. Adult stem cells, in contrast, have a less versatile potential: Their differentiation is generally restricted to the cell types of a specific tissue (although recent work has expanded the previously known range of adult stem cell differentiation potential).


A key feature of both embryonic and adult stem cells is their capacity for self-renewal as well as differentiation – ensuring that a constant pool of undifferentiated stem cells always exists. Drs. Tsai and McKay have identified nucleostemin as a critical regulator of this delicate balance.

Drs. Tsai and McKay originally identified nucleostemin as a protein abundantly expressed in rat CNS (central nervous system) stem cells that is markedly down-regulated during differentiation, suggesting a possible role in stem cell maintenance. The researchers went on to show that nucleostemin is expressed in various adult and embryonic stem cell populations, as well as in some human cancer cell lines, and that its expression is consistently turned-off during the differentiation of stem cells into more specialized cell types.

Using the RNAi gene silencing method, Drs. Tsai and McKay disrupted normal nucleostemin expression patterns in rodent CNS stem cells and human osteosarcoma cancer cells. They found that the aberrant down-regulation of nucleostemin in these cells caused a decrease in cell proliferation, suggesting that the expression of nucleostemin is required for stem cell -- and some cancer cell -- proliferation.

Although the precise mechanism of nucleostemin action is not yet fully understood, the identification of a gene whose protein product specifically promotes the proliferation of stem cells and some cancer cells has important clinical implications for both the use of stem cells in regenerative medicine as well as the treatment of cancer. As Dr. Tsai explains, "The characterization of nucleostemin suggests that a unique primitive state is shared by both stem cells and cancer cell lines. The identification of common molecules shared by both stem cells and cancer cells may facilitate the discovery of self-renewing populations within a given tumor by evaluating their expression levels. Perhaps, in the future, targeting these cells will achieve a better therapeutic outcome."

Heather Cosel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cshl.org/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow
25.07.2017 | Rudolf-Virchow-Zentrum für Experimentelle Biomedizin der Universität Würzburg

nachricht Fungi that evolved to eat wood offer new biomass conversion tool
25.07.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>