A group of researchers from The Scripps Research Institute has identified a small synthetic molecule that can induce a cell to undergo dedifferentiation - to move backwards developmentally from its current state to form its own precursor cell.
This compound, named reversine, causes cells which are normally programmed to form muscles to undergo reverse differentiation - retreat along their differentiation pathway and turn into precursor cells.
These precursor cells are multipotent; that is, they have the potential to become different cell types. Thus, reversine represents a potentially useful tool for generating unlimited supply of such precursors, which subsequently can be converted to other cell types, such as bone or cartilage.
"This [type of approach] has the potential to make stem cell research more practical," says Sheng Ding, Ph.D. "This will allow you to derive stem-like cells from your own mature cells, avoiding the technical and ethical issues associated with embryonic stem cells."
Jason Bardi | EurekAlert!
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