"Pluripotent" stem cells—which have the potential to mature into almost any cell in the body—are being widely studied for their role in treating a vast array of human diseases and for generating cells and tissues for transplantation.
Now, a team of Scripps Research Institute scientists has created a quality control diagnostic test that will make it much easier for researchers to determine whether their cell lines are normal pluripotent cells.
The study was published in an online version of Nature Methods on March 6, 2011.
"Many scientists are unhappy with the current gold standard for testing for pluripotency, called the teratoma assay," said Scripps Research molecular biologist Jeanne Loring, principal investigator of the study. "The teratoma assay requires animal testing and a time span of six to eight weeks before scientists can prove that they have a pluripotent stem cell line. In addition, this method is technically challenging and difficult to standardize."
The new test, called "PluriTest," meets the need for a cost-effective, accurate, animal-free alternative to the teratoma assay for assessing pluripotency. Using microarray technology, which enables the simultaneous analysis of thousands of different DNA sequences, the Scripps Research team created a large database of information about all the genes that are active in hundreds of normal human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells and a variety of non-pluripotent cell lines. For PluriTest, this database was used to create a detailed molecular model of a normal pluripotent stem cell line.
"Unlike diagnostic tests that use small sets of biomarkers to examine cells, the molecular model approach uses all of the thousands of pieces of information in a microarray," Loring said. "This results in a diagnostic test with remarkable sensitivity and specificity." Scientists upload raw data straight from a single microarray analysis to the PluriTest website and learn within 10 minutes whether their cell line is pluripotent.
An additional feature of the PluriTest diagnostic test is that it can show whether a cell that is pluripotent is different in some way from the normal model pluripotent cell line. For example, a "novelty score" generated by the software may indicate that the pluripotent cells have genomic aberrations such as extra copies of genes or chromosomes. This feature would alert the researcher to do additional analysis on the cells to determine what is causing the abnormality.
A first author of the study, Franz-Josef Mueller, said, "Scientists are making new induced pluripotent stem cell lines at a rapid pace to understand human disease, test new drugs, and develop regenerative therapies. Thousands of induced pluripotent stem cell lines have already been generated and soon there will be many more thousands. PluriTest is designed to enable the growth of this technology."
First authors of the paper, "A bioinformatic assay for pluripotency in human cells," are Mueller of Zentrum fur Integrative Psychiatrie (Kiel, Germany) and Bernhard M. Schuldt of Rheinisch-Westfalische Technische Hoschschule Aachen (Aachen, Germany). In addition to Loring, Mueller, and Schuldt, authors of the study included Roy Williams of the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Dylan Mason (an independent consultant), Gulsah Altun of Scripps Research, Eirini P. Papapetrou of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Sandra Danner of Fraunhofer Research Institution for Marine Biotechnology (Lubeck, Germany), Johanna E. Goldmann of Scripps Research and Freie Universitat (Berlin, Germany), Arne Herbst and Josef B. Aldenhoff of Zentrum fur Integrative Psychiatrie, Nils O. Schmidt of University of University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, and Louise C. Laurent of Rheinisch-Westfalische Technische Hoschschule Aachen and the University of California, San Diego.
The study was supported by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Esther O'Keeffe Foundation, New York State Stem Cell Science, Bayer Technology Services GmbH, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, an Else-Kröner Fresenius Stiftung fellowship.
About The Scripps Research Institute
The Scripps Research Institute is one of the world's largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations. Headquartered in La Jolla, California, Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and synthetic vaccine development, as well as autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious disease. The institute also includes a campus in Jupiter, Florida, where scientists focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development. Scripps Research currently employs approximately 3,000 scientists, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students on its two campuses. The institute's graduate program, which awards Ph.D. degrees in biology and chemistry, is ranked among the top ten such programs in the nation. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.
Mika Ono | EurekAlert!
First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife
Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.10.2016 | Process Engineering