Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cells traverse developmental divide via Blimp

03.11.2008
A method for single-cell genomic profiling has helped researchers to identify a putative ‘master switch’ for reproductive cell development in the mouse embryo

An animal’s reproductive capabilities are established early in development, when a homogeneous embryonic cell population gives rise to two distinct cell types—somatic cells that form the vast majority of body tissues, and primordial germ cells (PGCs) that ultimately yield spermatozoa or ova.

Identifying genes responsible for ‘programming’ PGC development will be essential to fully understand this essential developmental process. Unfortunately, existing techniques for large-scale gene expression profiling are designed for use with multicellular samples—an ineffective strategy for PGC analysis.

“PGCs are small in number—especially at early stages—and are embedded in somatic neighbors,” explains Mitinori Saitou, of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe. “Therefore, for systematically identifying genes specific to PGCs, single-cell analysis is considered to be essential.” Prior work from Saitou’s team identified several genes potentially important to PGC development. Now, his group has developed a powerful new technique for preparation and amplification of nucleic acids from individual cells, enabling stage-specific genomic profiling of mouse PGCs in unprecedented detail1.

The researchers focused on identifying genes regulated by Blimp1, a gene identified in their earlier work2. After analyzing PGCs from various developmental stages, it became clear that Blimp1 expression specifically increases in these cells over time. They also observed that although early-stage PGCs exhibit expression profiles for certain developmental genes that are similar to those observed in somatic cells, continued expression of Blimp1 leads to reversal of these expression patterns, actively driving development onto a PGC-specific trajectory.

A broader comparison of stage-specific gene expression in PGCs and somatic cells enabled Saitou’s team to assemble clusters of genes that are generally up- or down-regulated by Blimp1, allowing them to be categorized respectively as ‘specification’ or ‘somatic’ genes. Certain gene types were enriched for each category—including cell division regulators for the somatic genes and effectors of germ cell development for the specification genes—and each category also contained distinct sets of genes involved in embryonic development and body pattern formation.

Follow-up analyses confirmed that Blimp1 plays a central role in managing appropriate regulation of both somatic and specification genes for PGC development. “To me, the fact that Blimp1 represses essentially all the genes normally repressed in PGCs in comparison to their somatic neighbors is the most important finding,” says Saitou. Now, having glimpsed the ‘big picture’, Saitou’s team hunting for the primary target genes for Blimp1, and the mechanism by which it switches them on to set PGC development in motion.

1. Kurimoto, K., Yabuta, Y., Ohinata, Y., Shigeta, M., Yamanaka, K. & Saitou, M. Complex genome-wide transcription dynamics orchestrated by Blimp1 for the specification of the germ cell lineage in mice. Genes & Development 22, 1617–1635 (2008).

2. Ohinata, Y., Payer, B., O’Carroll, D., Ancelin, K., Ono, Y., Sano, M., Barton, S.C., Obukhanych, T., Nussenzweig, M., Tarakhovsky, A., et al. Blimp1 is a critical determinant of the germ cell lineage in mice. Nature 436, 207–213 (2005).

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the RIKEN Laboratory for Mammalian Germ Cell Biology

Saeko Okada | ResearchSEA
Further information:
http://www.rikenresearch.riken.jp/research/568/
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>