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

Findings Indicate How Gene Transcription is Controlled in Embryonic Stem Cells

Published: Monday, May 05, 2008
Last Updated: Monday, May 05, 2008
Bookmark and Share
In a report that appears in the journal Nature Cell Biology, BCM researchers explain that association determines fate in embryonic stem cells.

Association determines fate in embryonic stem cells, said Baylor College of Medicine researchers in a report that appears in the current issue of the journal Nature Cell Biology.

"These findings provide models of how the embryonic stem cell is maintained in its flexible state," said Dr. Zhou Songyang, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at BCM and senior author of the report. "It provides another hint as to how gene transcription is controlled in embryonic stem cells."

One aim of embryonic stem cell research is to understand how the cells determine whether they will keep dividing and maintain a pool of embryonic cells, or start the process of cellular differentiation that results in different cell types.

Songyang and his colleagues found that two critical embryonic cell proteins – Nanog and Oct4 – associate with specific components that are parts of transcription repression complexes. These complexes affect the way that genes are expressed and carry out their tasks in the cell.

A special complex called NODE (Nanog and Oct4-associated Deacetylase) contains a critical component called Mta1 along with histone deacetylases. NODE associates with Nanog and Oct4 to control the fate of embryonic stem cells, said Songyang.

Histones are critical parts of genomic DNA structures or chromatins, acting as "spools" around which the genetic material winds in the nucleus. The DNA wraps more tightly when deacetylase removes the acetyl tails from the histones. The tight wrapping makes it hard for genes to be transcribed into the message that allows them to carry out their roles in the cell.

"Think of it as the parts of a car," said Songyang.

"If you think of Nanog as the engine that drives it, you realize that the car still needs accessories like wheels, the tailpipe, etc. We are interested in the big machinery of which proteins (like Nanog) are the drivers. We want to understand the enzymatic activities of the complexes. Then we need to identify the individual parts and ask the big question: 'How do different parts work together and why do you need special parts?'”

"We noticed that there are many histone deacetylases," he said. "Nanog uses these proteins to control gene expression and maybe also the chromatin state. When there is deacetylation, the gene is in a passive state."

"The embryonic stem cell is always at the stage of deciding whether to divide (and make more embryonic stem cells) or to differentiate," Songyang said. "All the extrinsic and intrinsic signals make the life of the embryonic stem cell transient. In other words, it has to be ready to go down either road."

"It becomes an interesting question," said Songyang. "Such a demanding state of readiness may mean that the embryonic stem cell requires a different complex at the chromatin than the somatic (or differentiated cell)."

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 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ 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 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

Role of Cancer Stem Cells in Chemo-Resistance
'Wound response' of cancer stem cells may explain chemo-resistance in bladder cancer.
Friday, December 05, 2014
Experimental Drug Targets Chemo-Resistant Breast Cancer Stem Cells
The cells that remain after treatment that could potentially refuel tumor growth, researchers say.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Ronin Provides Alternate Pathway to Pristine Embryonic Stem Cells
The protein Ronin maintains embryonic stem cells in their undifferentiated state and plays roles in genesis of embryos and their development, researchers say.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Nature Mixes, Matches Genes to Keep Nerve Cells Straight
BCM researchers report that nature has to mix and match thousands of genes to generate the myriad types of neurons needed to assemble the brain and nervous system.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Notch Controls Bone Formation and Strength
Notch, a protein that governs cell differentiation process in embryos, plays a critical role in bone formation and strength later in life.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Scientific News
How a Genetic Locus Protects Adult Blood-Forming Stem Cells
Mammalian imprinted Gtl2 protects adult hematopoietic stem cells by restricting metabolic activity in the cells' mitochondria.
Fat Cells Originating from Bone Marrow Found in Humans
Cells could contribute to diabetes, heart disease.
Ancient Viral Molecules Essential for Human Development
Genetic material from ancient viral infections is critical to human development, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
CRI Identifies Emergency Blood-formation Response
Researchers report that when tissue damage occurs, an emergency blood-formation system activates.
New Way to Force Stem Cells to Become Bone Cells
Potential therapies based on this discovery could help people heal bone injuries or set hardware, such as replacement knees and hips.
Dead Bacteria to Kill Colorectal Cancer
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have successfully used dead bacteria to kill colorectal cancer cells.
Promise of Newborn Stem Cells to Revolutionize Clinical Practice
In this article Shweta Sharma, PhD, discusses the potential of an Umbilical Cord Blood bank as an untapped source of samples for research and clinical trials.
The Life Story of Stem Cells
A model analyses the development of stem cell numbers in the human body.
Novel Stem Cell Line Avoids Risk of Introducing Transplanted Tumors
Progenitor cells might eventually be used to repair or rebuild damaged or destroyed organs.
Advancing Genome Editing of Blood Stem Cells
Genome editing techniques for blood stem cells just got better, thanks to a team of researchers at USC and Sangamo BioSciences.
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
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos