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

Stem Cells Generated with Oct4 Cannot Form a Complete Organism

Published: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine have demonstrated that an egg cell does not require Oct4 to develop into a complete organism.

Somatic cells have already assumed specific tasks through differentiation, but they can be reprogrammed into “all rounders”: by using only four factors, a specialised somatic cell can thus regain its ability to form any type of cell (pluripotency). One of those factors is Oct4. Scientists from Hans Schöler’s team at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster have now been able to demonstrate that an egg cell does not require Oct4 to develop into a complete organism (totipotency). This means that reprogramming cells to make them pluripotent by using the four factors, including Oct4, and reprogramming an egg cell through fertilisation or cloning are significantly different processes.

For quite some time, scientists have ascribed Oct4 an important role in early embryonic development—after all, the protein is present in the egg cell. To study the role of Oct4 in the transition from totipotency to pluripotency, the Max Planck researchers had to deactivate Oct4 in the egg cell. To do this, they used a genetically modified mouse model in which the protein Oct4 was eliminated only in the egg cells. “Contrary to the established premise that Oct4 is crucial for the early embryonic stages of development, the mice without Oct4 were as fertile as those with Oct4,” according to Guangming Wu, first author of the study. “In other words, it was still possible to activate the totipotency of the fertilised egg cells, as in normal fertilisation,” he adds.

Another established assumption was that the fate of the cells in the early embryo is decided by the balance between the protein Oct4 and its antagonist, the protein Cdx2. According to this assumption, Oct4 would turn the cells into embryoblast cells, from which the foetus would later form. Cdx2, on the other hand, would transform the cells into trophoblasts, a subsequent part of the placenta. Consequently, without Oct4, there would be an empty trophoblast envelope. The researchers found that despite the elimination of Oct4, an embryo with an embryoblast formed. However, the cells quickly lost their pluripotency. Wu explains, “There must therefore be other factors that determine the fate of the cells in the early embryo. Identifying the factors that are decisive for embryonic cloning and pluripotency will be the subject of future research.”

In 2009, Hans Schöler and his team demonstrated that certain somatic cells could be reprogrammed into stem cells by using Oct4 alone. Scientists hope that they will be able to use such induced pluripotent stem cells to better study diseases without requiring human embryos to harvest stem cells. “Our study shows that cloning leads to totipotency with or without Oct4, while reprogramming cells for pluripotency is not possible without Oct4,” Hans Schöler explains. “The two types of reprogramming are fundamentally different. This is also an important finding with regard to the Embryo Protection Act. If these two processes were to involve the same mechanisms, there could be totipotent cells among the induced pluripotent stem cells generated with Oct4, in which case the Embryo Protection Act would apply.”


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 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ 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.


Scientific News
The Mending Tissue - Cellular Instructions for Tissue Repair
NUS-led collaborative study identifies universal mechanism that explains how tissue shape regulates physiological processes such as wound healing and embryo development.
Tissue Bank Pays Dividends for Brain Cancer Research
Checking what’s in the bank – the Brisbane Breast Bank, that is – has paid dividends for UQ cancer researchers.
iPS Cells Discover Drug Target for Muscle Disease
Researchers have designed a model that reprograms fibroblasts to the early stages of their differentiation into intact muscle cells in a step towards a therapeutic for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Engineered Hot Fat Implants Reduce Weight Gain
Scientists at UC Berkeley have developed a novel way to engineer the growth and expansion of energy-burning “good” fat, and then found that this fat helped reduce weight gain and lower blood glucose levels in mice.
Transplanted Stem Cells Can Benefit Retinal Disease Sufferers
Tests on animal models show that MSCs secrete growth factors that suppress causes of diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.
MRI Scanners Can Steer Therapeutics to Specific Target Sites
Scientists from the University of Sheffield have discovered MRI scanners, normally used to produce images, can steer cell-based, tumour busting therapies to specific target sites in the body.
Team Finds Early Inflammatory Response Paralyzes T Cells
Findings could have enormous implications for immunotherapy, autoimmune disorders, transplants and other aspects of immunity.
Early Detection of Lung Cancer
The University of Manchester has signed a collaboration agreement with Abcodia to perform proteomics studies on a cohort of non-small cell lung cancer cases from the UKCTOCS biobank, with the aim of discovering new blood-based biomarkers for earlier detection of the disease.
Researchers Identify Drug Candidate for Skin, Hair Regeneration
Formerly undiscovered role of protein may lead to the development of new medications that stimulate hair and skin regeneration in trauma or burn victims.
Basis for New Treatment Options for a Fatal Leukemia in Children Revealed
Detailed molecular analyses allow new insights into the function of tumour cells and options for new treatments.
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
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!