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.
'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells
20.02.2018 | Biophysical Society
New printing technique uses cells and molecules to recreate biological structures
20.02.2018 | Queen Mary University of London
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
20.02.2018 | Life Sciences
20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering
20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy