Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Stem Cells, Cellular Therapy & Biobanking
>
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

UT Southwestern Researchers Identify Mechanism that Maintains Stem Cells

Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Last Updated: Monday, November 26, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Immune-system receptor maintains stemness of normal adult stem cells and helps leukemia cells growth.

An immune-system receptor plays an unexpected but crucially important role in keeping stem cells from differentiating and in helping blood cancer cells grow, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center report in the journal Nature.

“Cancer cells grow rapidly in part because they fail to differentiate into mature cells. Drugs that induce differentiation can be used to treat cancers,” said Dr. Chengcheng “Alec” Zhang, assistant professor in UT Southwestern’s departments of physiology and developmental biology.

“Our research identified a protein receptor on cancer cells that induces differentiation, and knowing the identity of this protein should facilitate the development of new drugs to treat cancers.”

The family of proteins investigated in the study could help open a new field of biology integrating immunology with stem cell and cancer research, he added.

“The receptor we identified turned out to be a protein called a classical immune inhibitory receptor, which is known to maintain stemness of normal adult stem cells and to be important in the development of leukemia,” he said.

Stemness refers to the blood stem cells’ potential to develop into a range of different kinds of cells as needed, for instance to replenish red blood cells lost to bleeding or to produce more white blood cells to fight off infection.

Once stem cells differentiate into adult cells, they cannot go back to being stem cells. Current thinking is that the body has a finite number of stem cells and it is best to avoid depleting them, Dr. Zhang explained.

Prior to this study, no high-affinity receptors had been identified for the family of seven proteins called the human angiopoetic-like proteins. These seven proteins are known to be involved in inflammation, supporting the activity of stem cells, breaking down fats in the blood, and growing new blood vessels to nourish tumors.

Because the receptor to which these proteins bind had not been identified, the angiopoetic-like proteins were referred to as “orphans,” he said.

The researchers found that the human immune-inhibitory receptor LILRB2 and a corresponding receptor on the surface of mouse cells bind to several of the angiopoetic-like proteins.

Further studies, Dr. Zhang said, showed that two of the seven family members bind particularly well to the LILRB2 receptor and that binding exerts an inhibitory effect on the cell, similar to a car’s brakes.

In the case of stem cells, inhibition keeps them in their stem state. They retain their potential to mature into all kinds of blood cells as needed but they don’t use up their energy differentiating into mature cells.

That inhibition helps stem cells maintain their potential to create new stem cells because in addition to differentiation, self-renewal is the cells’ other major activity, Dr. Zhang said. He stressed that the inhibition doesn’t cause them to create new stem cells but does preserve their potential to do so.

In future research, the scientists hope to find subtle differences between stem cells and leukemia cells that will identify treatments to block the receptors’ action only in leukemia.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,600+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Regenerative Medicine Biologists Discover a Cellular Structure that Explains Fate of Stem Cells
The findings are presented in the journal Nature.
Thursday, July 02, 2015
Cell that Replenishes Heart Muscle Found by UT Southwestern Researchers
Researchers devise a new cell-tracing technique to detect cells that do replenish themselves.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Rare Stem Cells in Testis that Hold Potential for Infertility Treatments Identified
Rare stem cells in testis that produce a biomarker protein called PAX7 help give rise to new sperm cells — and may hold a key to restoring fertility, research by scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center suggests.
Friday, September 05, 2014
Cancer Biologists Link Tumor Suppressor Gene to Stem Cells
The findings appear online in the journal eLife.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Stem Cell Study Opens Door to Undiscovered World of Biology
Discovery published in Nature measures protein production.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Researchers Generate New Neurons in Brains, Spinal Cords of Mammals
Researchers created new nerve cells without the need of stem cell transplants.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Scientists Find that Estrogen Promotes Blood-Forming Stem Cell Function
Research could provide potential opportunities for improved treatment of blood cancers and enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
Monday, January 27, 2014
Bone-marrow Environment Helps Fight Infection
Scientists identify bone-marrow environment that leads to production of infection-fighting T and B cells.
Monday, September 16, 2013
UTSW Researchers Identify New Potential Target for Cancer Therapy
Researchers have found that alternative splicing – a process that allows a single gene to code for multiple proteins – appears to be a new potential target for anti-telomerase cancer therapy.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Gene Found that Regenerates Heart Tissue
UT Southwestern researchers identify gene that regenerates heart tissue – critical finding for heart failure prevention.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Human Melanomas in Mice Predict Skin Cancer
Spread of human melanoma cells in mice correlates with clinical outcomes in patients, UTSW investigators find.
Thursday, November 08, 2012
Genetic Manipulation Boosts Growth of Brain Cells Linked to Learning
Genetic manipulation enhances effects of antidepressants, UT Southwestern researchers report.
Friday, March 09, 2012
Blood-forming Stem Cells' Growth Identified in First Breakthrough from New Institute
Endothelial and perivascular cells are responsible for nurturing haematopoietic stem cells.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Researchers at UT Southwestern Find Way to Help Donor Adult Blood Stem Cells Overcome Transplant Rejection
The study show that adult blood stem cells can be regulated to overcome an immune response that leads to transplant rejection.
Monday, August 08, 2011
UT Southwestern and Children’s Medical Center Recruit Internationally Renowned Stem Cell Researcher
Dr. Sean Morrison, an internationally recognized leader in adult stem cell research, to lead new pediatric research initiatives.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Scientific News
Zebrafish Reveal Drugs that may Improve Bone Marrow Transplant
Compounds boost stem cell engraftment; could allow more matches for patients with cancer and blood diseases.
New Material Forges the Way for 'Stem Cell Factories'
Researchers have discovered the first fully synthetic substrate with potential to grow billions of stem cells. The researchcould forge the way for the creation of 'stem cell factories' - the mass production of human embryonic (pluripotent) stem cells.
Liver Regrown from Stem Cells
Scientists have repaired a damaged liver in a mouse by transplanting stem cells grown in the laboratory.
Immunotherapy Shows Promise for Myeloma
A strategy, which uses patients’ own immune cells, genetically engineered to target tumors, has shown significant success against multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells that is largely incurable.
'Google Maps' for the Body
Scientists have revealed research that uses previously top-secret technology to zoom through the human body down to the level of a single cell that could be a game-changer for medicine.
Adaptimmune's Novel Cancer Therapeutics Show Positive Clinical Trial Results
The company has announced that positive data from its Phase I/II study of its affinity enhanced T-cell receptor (TCR) therapeutic targeting the NY-ESO-1 cancer antigen in patients with multiple myeloma has been published.
Stem Cells Rescue Patients from Mitochondrial Disease
A study led by OHSU researchers has revealed a critical first step in developing a new gene and stem cell regenerative technique for treating patients with mitochondrial disease.
Eco-Friendly Nanobullet to Battle Bacteria
Researchers have developed a method to combat bacteria by engineering nanoscale particles that add the antimicrobial potency of silver to a core of lignin, a ubiquitous substance found in all plant cells.
Blood Stem Cells in a Rush -- Velocity Determines Quality
Acceleration of the G1 phase transit during cell division makes human blood stem cells more powerful.
Modelling the Early Human Heart
Researchers have developed a template for growing beating cardiac tissue from stem cells, creating a system that could serve as a model for early heart development and as a drug-screening tool to make pregnancies safer.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,600+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!