Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers find local environment directly influences adult stem cell reservoirs

26.01.2005


Using the common fruit fly, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have discovered that an intricate set of signals released by stem cells’ surroundings governs their maintenance.



These findings, available online and in today’s issue of Current Biology, will aid stem cell researchers in understanding and potentially manipulating the delicate environments that promote adult stem cell formation, said Dr. Dennis McKearin, associate professor of molecular biology and associate dean for the Medical Scientist Training Program at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study. "We want to understand the biochemistry behind stem cells that distinguishes them from other types of cells," Dr. McKearin said. "This work aids in understanding general stem cell biology."

The reproductive system of the female fruit fly, as in humans, contains a reservoir of adult stem cells. When the stem cells divide, they create two daughter cells, each with a distinct fate. One daughter travels away from the reservoir, divides further, and eventually becomes the egg and ’nurse’ cells, which nourish the egg.


The other daughter stays near the other stem cells and is influenced by the local environment to remain a stem cell, thereby maintaining the stem cell population. Dr. McKearin’s research shows that within the local environment, or niche, of the stem cell population, stromal cells, the non-stem cells that surround and attach to stem cells, release signals that are received and processed by stem cells and the daughters remaining in the niche. These molecular signals block certain genes from becoming active in the remaining stem cell daughters, preventing them from becoming any other kind of cell.

Genes controlling differentiation are turned off in some stem cell daughters but turned on in others, which move too far away to be influenced. Thus they develop into the egg and nurse cells. The success of this cell-to-cell communication is crucial. When the signals from the stromal cells are blocked, the stem cell population is gradually lost. When the signals are on all the time, or specific genes in the daughter cells are mutated, every daughter cell acts like a stem cell and the future eggs are lost.

"That stem cells are maintained by blocking gene expression suggests that the microenvironment, or niche, captures the cells and prevents them from differentiating," Dr. McKearin said. "Cells that are poised to differentiate do not, simply because of their niche."

Dr. McKearin said that in addition to their influence on stem cells, local environments or niches may influence the spread of cancer. "Specific types of cancer often metastasize to specific other organs," he said. "For example, prostate cancer cells that respond to certain growth factors may metastasize to bone, but not liver, because they can respond to external factors in the bone niche, but not the liver niche."

The other contributor to this study is Dr. Dahua Chen, instructor in molecular biology at UT Southwestern and lead author.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Megha Satyanarayana | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>