Some muscle cells are multi-talented.
American Society for Cell Biology Meeting, Washington, December 2001
Stem cells’ fates are a multiple choice.
A single stem cell from adult mouse muscle can form enough blood cells to save another animal’s life - and still switch back to making brawn, researchers announced at the Washington meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology this week.
"It shows that cells can go in many different directions given the right environment," says stem-cell researcher Helen Blau of Stanford University in California. The traditional view - that stem cells progressively and permanently lose their initial ability to produce many cell types - is changing, she argues.
Rather than a one-way road of cell destiny, "It looks like a San Francisco highway", says Blau. Stem cells can go off at one exit to make nerve cells and rejoin to make liver cells when the need arises.
Embryonic stem (ES) cells may still have properties that adult stem cells lack, cautions Ron McKay of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Adult nerve stem cells are more likely to stop producing new nerve cells than are ES cells, he says, arguing for continued experimentation with the controversial human cells.
"I’ll say it because we’re in Washington: they [ES cells] grow without changing their developmental potential," he says.
"We weren’t looking for stem cells," explains Huard. He and his team were trying to find muscle cells that could restore the missing protein dystrophin in patients suffering from the wasting muscle disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). They wanted cells that were tough enough to survive transplantation into a patient.
They injected their selected cell group, labelled so that they could be tracked, into mice with a form of DMD. But the cells rarely turned up in muscle. Instead, Huard found them in heart, liver, lung, spleen - but mainly bone marrow. "I got sidetracked," he says.
Huard is now trying to coax his stem cells back to muscle by searching for the molecules that lure them there. Working muscle cells would bump up dystrophin levels. "It will be very exciting," he predicts.
To finally identify the elusive muscle stem cell, researchers must start from a single cell, warns Blau: even Huard’s group of purified cells could contain outliers with unknown effects. Such a technique identified an ’ultimate’ stem cell from bone marrow earlier this year2.
| © Nature News Service
Overlooked molecular machine in cell nucleus may hold key to treating aggressive leukemia
23.04.2019 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Bacteria use their enemy -- phage -- for 'self-recognition'
23.04.2019 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters
Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in Physical Review X on the observation of supersolid behavior in dipolar quantum gases of erbium and dysprosium. In the dysprosium gas these properties are unprecedentedly long-lived. This sets the stage for future investigations into the nature of this exotic phase of matter.
Supersolidity is a paradoxical state where the matter is both crystallized and superfluid. Predicted 50 years ago, such a counter-intuitive phase, featuring...
A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter
A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.
Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...
The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks
Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...
Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.
Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
09.04.2019 | Event News
23.04.2019 | Information Technology
23.04.2019 | Earth Sciences
23.04.2019 | Life Sciences