A researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, together with Israeli and foreign collaborators, has revealed how physical qualities -- and not only chemical ones – may have an influence in determining how adult stem cells from the bone marrow develop into differentiated ones. This represents an important step in understanding the mechanisms that direct and regulate the specialization of stem cells from their undefined state.
Scientists around the world are involved in studying, describing and even manipulating the development of stem cells on their path into becoming specialized cells, such as heart, muscle, brain or any other tissue. This research has tremendous implications for the future utilization of stem cells as a new tool of medical treatment.
In an article published in Nature Physics, Dr. Assaf Zemel of the Institute of Dental Sciences at the Hebrew University and his fellow researchers, Prof. Samuel Safran from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Dr. Florian Rehfeldt from Gottingen University in Germany, and Dr. Andre Brown and Prof. Dennis Discher from the University of Pennsylvania, tell how they have developed a theoretical model and carried out experiments on stem cells to propose a mechanism for the recently discovered sensitivity of stem cell differentiation to the rigidity of their surroundings.
They described the physical changes that take place in stem cells that are layered on supporting foundations of differing rigidities. They showed that on a supporting matrix whose rigidity mimics that of muscle tissue, the cells become elongated and filled with aligned muscle-like fibers. The authors explain how this situation is fundamentally different from the case where the supporting substance is made either softer (to mimic brain tissue) or harder (to mimic bone tissue), in which case the cells adopt more symmetric structures and differentiate into brain and bone cells, respectively.
These findings shed new light on our understanding of the mechanisms that govern the differentiation of stem cells and may have important implications for the design of artificial tissues and the development of novel therapeutic strategies, says Dr. Zemel.
Jerry Barach | EurekAlert!
When helium behaves like a black hole
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Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars
22.03.2017 | International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
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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