In a report that appears in the journal Cell Stem Cell today, Dr. Margaret A. Goodell, professor of pediatrics and director of BCM’s STem Cells and Regeneration Center (STaR), and her colleagues described how they used their database to determine what was unique to each blood cell and what was common to all the cell types.
Understanding differentiation and what signals cause the early or progenitor cells to become the more specialized tissues that make multicellular organisms – such as mammals – possible is of vital concern to scientists and particularly stem cell biologists.
In this case, the scientists identified between 100 and 400 genes uniquely expressed in each cell type and termed these “lineage fingerprints,” because they mark the different cells that arise from the various stem cells.
“With unique genes, some will be responsible for generating those cell types,” said Goodell. She and her colleagues caused two of the genes (Zfp105 from the natural killer or NK cell lineage, and Ets2 from the monocyte (white blood cells with a singe nucleus that surround and ingest foreign materials) lineage to overexpress or make more than usual amounts of protein.
“They ended up driving differentiation,” said Goodell. That means that genes encouraged progenitor or early forms of the cells to become the mature or final blood cells that carry out specific tasks in the blood system.
“We are hoping that if we screen more of these genes that we can identify others that cause differentiation,” she said.
In the future, she said, scientists might consider ways to use the genes to help generate the differentiated cells in the laboratory as a particular form of treatment or developing drugs to block the action of the genes. Overproduction of certain blood or immune system cells can lead to cancer or autoimmune disease.
The three-year study involved considerable teamwork, said Goodell, with individuals in the lab taking responsibility for studies involving the different populations of blood cells.
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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