'Fingerprints' help find genes involved in differentiation
A database that includes the molecular profiles of the major components of the blood system – including the stem cells and the cells differentiated from them – enabled researchers at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston to identify at least two genes involved in the differentiation process for two different kinds of blood cells.
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.
Kimberlee Barbour | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...