In a paper to appear in the August issue of the journal Developmental Cell, scientists show that a member of the Bruno-like family of RNA binding proteins – produced by a gene found in both planarians and humans – plays a vital role in maintaining the stem cell population in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. The work could lead to a better understanding of the fundamental mechanisms by which stem cells are regulated; such basic understanding is required for the successful therapeutic application of stem cells in humans.
"One of the defining characteristics of stem cells is their ability to self-renew – that is, to make more stem cells in addition to differentiating into multiple cell types," said Phillip A. Newmark, a professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and corresponding author of the paper. "We found that in the absence of this protein, the stem cells could respond to wound stimuli, proliferate, and differentiate, but they were unable to self-renew. As a result, the regeneration process failed and the animals died."
Using a technique called RNA interference, Illinois graduate student Tingxia Guo and Newmark first eliminated most of the Bruno-like protein (Bruli) from a number of planarians. Then they amputated a small piece from each flatworm. In the usual manner, the planarian stem cells migrated to the site of the wound, sensed what was missing and began rebuilding. Regeneration ceased, however, when the stem cell population became depleted.
"Had Bruli protein been present, the regeneration process would have continued to completion," Newmark said. "What may be happening is that when this protein is eliminated, RNAs that are supposed to be turned off (that is, not made into proteins) are now turned on and made into proteins. Those proteins may then cause the stem cells to differentiate, instead of also producing new stem cells to maintain the population."
While there is still much to be learned about stem cell self-renewal, the researchers' results suggest that Bruli protein is required for stem cell maintenance in planarians.
"The next steps are to see if the gene that makes this protein in planarians plays a similar role in stem cells in other organisms and to identify possible RNA targets of this protein," Newmark said.
James E. Kloeppel | EurekAlert!
Warming ponds could accelerate climate change
21.02.2017 | University of Exeter
An alternative to opioids? Compound from marine snail is potent pain reliever
21.02.2017 | University of Utah
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences
21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News