Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Freiburg research team deciphers how stem cells decide their identity

03.12.2019

Several hundred different cell types of the adult human body are formed during embryonic development, starting from just a few identical stem cells. The differentiation potential of the cells is progressively restricted in the course of this process, causing changes in their morphology and functions. A research team headed by Prof. Dr. Sebastian Arnold and Jelena Tosic from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Freiburg has now succeeded in deciphering basic molecular control mechanisms by which stem cells decide which embryonic cell types to turn into.

This is achieved at least partially through selective usage of the genes for each different cell type, despite the presence of the identical genetic information in every cell in the body.
The scientists have published their findings in the journal “Nature Cell Biology”.


Neurons derived from stem cell in the absence of T-Box factors.

Source: Carsten Schwan/ Jelena Tosic

The undifferentiated stem cells of the embryo develop either into cells of the nervous system, the so-called neuroectoderm, or into cells of the meso- and endoderm, from which, for example, many different cell types of the internal organs or the muscles develop.

For over 25 years it has been known that this decision is regulated by embryonic signaling molecules, such as TGFβ and Wnt signals. So far, however, it has remained unclear exactly how these signals control this first decision of cell differentiation.

The study, carried out in the context of Tosic's doctoral thesis, shows that the embryonic TGFβ and Wnt signals are transmitted by gene-regulating transcription factors of the T-box factor family, namely Eomes and Brachyury. These factors are responsible for “turning on” the differentiation gene programs for all meso- and endoderm cells.

At the same time, these T-box factors also act as gene repressors, preventing the formation of neural tissue by suppressing the corresponding gene programs. This involves changes in the structure but not the content of the genetic information in the cell nucleus.

"The results of the study represent a crucial step towards understanding the basic mechanisms of how cells develop their future identity during development," says Arnold. They also allow further studies on how cell identity is permanently encoded in a cell.

Sebastian Arnold works at the Institute for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Freiburg’s Faculty of Medicine. He is also involved in the Collaborative Research Centres 850, 1140, and 994 as well as the Freiburg Cluster of Excellence CIBSS – Centre for Integrated Biological Signalling Studies.

Original publication:
Tosic, J., Kim, G.-J., Pavlovic, M., Schröder, C.M., Mersiowsky, S.-L., Barg, M., Hofherr, A., Probst, S., Köttgen, M., Hein, L., and Arnold, S.J. (2019): Eomes and Brachyury control pluripotency exit and germ layer segregation by changing the chromatin state. In: Nature Cell Biol. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41556-019-0423-1

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Sebastian Arnold
Research Group for Regenerative Pharmacology
Institute of Experimental & Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology
University of Freiburg
Phone: 0761 / 203-96819
sebastian.arnold@pharmakol.uni-freiburg.de

Originalpublikation:

https://www.pr.uni-freiburg.de/pm-en/press-releases-2019/cellular-identity?set_l...

Nicolas Scherger | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Further information:
http://www.uni-freiburg.de/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Packed in wax: the University of Graz develops a technology to stop bee disease
03.12.2019 | Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

nachricht Better diagnosis with 3D model of human liver tissue
03.12.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The coldest reaction

With ultracold chemistry, researchers get a first look at exactly what happens during a chemical reaction

The coldest chemical reaction in the known universe took place in what appears to be a chaotic mess of lasers. The appearance deceives: Deep within that...

Im Focus: How do scars form? Fascia function as a repository of mobile scar tissue

Abnormal scarring is a serious threat resulting in non-healing chronic wounds or fibrosis. Scars form when fibroblasts, a type of cell of connective tissue, reach wounded skin and deposit plugs of extracellular matrix. Until today, the question about the exact anatomical origin of these fibroblasts has not been answered. In order to find potential ways of influencing the scarring process, the team of Dr. Yuval Rinkevich, Group Leader for Regenerative Biology at the Institute of Lung Biology and Disease at Helmholtz Zentrum München, aimed to finally find an answer. As it was already known that all scars derive from a fibroblast lineage expressing the Engrailed-1 gene - a lineage not only present in skin, but also in fascia - the researchers intentionally tried to understand whether or not fascia might be the origin of fibroblasts.

Fibroblasts kit - ready to heal wounds

Im Focus: McMaster researcher warns plastic pollution in Great Lakes growing concern to ecosystem

Research from a leading international expert on the health of the Great Lakes suggests that the growing intensity and scale of pollution from plastics poses serious risks to human health and will continue to have profound consequences on the ecosystem.

In an article published this month in the Journal of Waste Resources and Recycling, Gail Krantzberg, a professor in the Booth School of Engineering Practice...

Im Focus: Machine learning microscope adapts lighting to improve diagnosis

Prototype microscope teaches itself the best illumination settings for diagnosing malaria

Engineers at Duke University have developed a microscope that adapts its lighting angles, colors and patterns while teaching itself the optimal...

Im Focus: Small particles, big effects: How graphene nanoparticles improve the resolution of microscopes

Conventional light microscopes cannot distinguish structures when they are separated by a distance smaller than, roughly, the wavelength of light. Superresolution microscopy, developed since the 1980s, lifts this limitation, using fluorescent moieties. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have now discovered that graphene nano-molecules can be used to improve this microscopy technique. These graphene nano-molecules offer a number of substantial advantages over the materials previously used, making superresolution microscopy even more versatile.

Microscopy is an important investigation method, in physics, biology, medicine, and many other sciences. However, it has one disadvantage: its resolution is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

High entropy alloys for hot turbines and tireless metal-forming presses

05.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

The Future of Work

03.12.2019 | Event News

Better diagnosis with 3D model of human liver tissue

03.12.2019 | Life Sciences

Fungus produces active agent in a medicinal herb

03.12.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>