Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Why Stem Cells Need to Stick with their Friends

Published: Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Scientists have identified a core set of functionally relevant factors which regulates embryonic stem cells’ ability for self-renewal.

A key aspect is the protein Oct4 and how it makes stem cells stick together. The identification of these factors will be an important tool in devising better and safer ways of making specialised cells for future regenerative cell therapies for treatment of diseases like diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

Scientists have known that the protein Oct4 plays a key role in maintaining the embryonic stem cells in pure form by turning on stem cell genes, however up until now it has not been know which of the 8000 or more possible genes that Oct4 can choose from actually support self-renewal.

By comparing the evolution of stem cells in frogs, mice and humans, scientists at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine and the Danish Stem Cell Center in Copenhagen have now been able to link the protein Oct4 with the ability of cells to stick together. They found that for embryonic stem cells to thrive they need to stick together and Oct4’s role is to make sure they stay that way.

“Embryonic stem cells can stay forever young unless they become grown-up cells with a specialised job in a process called differentiation. Our study shows that Oct4 prevents this process by pushing stem cells to stick to each other.” said Dr Alessandra Livigni, Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh's MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine.

Identification of specific genes
The research teams in Edinburgh and Copenhagen successfully identified 53 genes, out of more than 8000 possible candidates that together with Oct4, functionally regulate cell adhesion. Almost like finding needles in a haystack the scientists have paved the way for a more efficient way of maintaining stem cells as stem cells.

"Embryonic stem cells are characterized, among other things, by their ability to perpetuate themselves indefinitely and differentiate into all the cell types in the body – a trait called pluripotency. Though to be able to use them medically, we need to be able to maintain them as stem cells, until they're needed. When we want to turn a stem cell into a specific cell for example; an insulin producing beta cell, or a nerve cell like those in the brain, we'd like this process to occur accurately and efficiently. We cannot do this if we don't understand how to maintain stem cells as stem cells,” said Prof Joshua Brickman from the Danish Stem Cell Center, University of Copenhagen.

Future potential
As well as maintaining embryonic stem cells in their pure state more effectively, this new insight will also enable scientists to more efficiently manipulate adult cells to revert to a stem cell like stage known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). These cells have many of the same traits and characteristics as embryonic stem cells but can be derived from the patients to both help study degenerative disease and eventually treat them.

“This research knowledge has the potential for us to change the way we grow stem cells, enabling us to use them in a less costly and more efficient way. It will help us devise better and safer ways to create specialised cells for future regenerative medicine therapies,” concludes Prof Joshua Brickman.


Further Information

Join For Free

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 3,100+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,500+ 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

Breast Cancer Drug Hope
A drug for breast cancer that is more effective than existing medicines may be a step closer thanks to new research.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Salt Gene Could Help Cut Heart Disease
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh find that removal of a gene linked with high blood pressure causes a strong appetite for salt.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
University of Edinburgh, Selcia Achieve Key Milestones in Drug Development Program
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh, working with Selcia, have successfully passed the 20-month milestone targets of a 30-month Wellcome Trust SDDi £2.5 million project to design novel treatments for sleeping sickness.
Monday, November 30, 2015
Garlic Could Aid Cystic Fibrosis Fight
A chemical in garlic kills bacteria that cause deadly infections in people with cystic fibrosis, University of Edinburgh research shows.
Monday, March 02, 2015
Bowel Disease Gene Discovery
Genetic changes that occur in patients with the bowel condition Crohn’s disease could hold clues to fighting the illness.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Risk of Brain Injury is Genetic
Link between injury to the developing brain and common variation in genes identified.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
University of Edinburgh Invests £1.2M in NMR and Mass Spectroscopy Instrumentation
‘Instantaneous’ turnover of samples will benefit research efforts.
Friday, April 25, 2014
Research Make Light Work of Fixing Broken Bones
Artificial bone, created using stem cells and a new lightweight plastic, could soon be used to heal shattered limbs.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Microarray-based Assays for Blood Typing and Diagnosis of Infectious Diseases
University of Edinburgh scientists are developing multiplex microarray using Tecan’s LS Reloaded™ laser scanner.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Edinburgh Scientists Identify Factor that Poises Stem Cells for Specialization
Researchers show that mouse embryonic stem cells need the protein FGF4 to become competent to be converted into specialized cell types.
Friday, August 03, 2007
University of Edinburgh Purchases Arrayjet Microarray Spotter
The spotter increases throughput capacity and performance essential to meet the increasing demand for high quality microarrays.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
"Land of the Ever-Young" Gene Reprogrammes Cells
A team of scientists at the Institute for Stem Cell Research investigated the switching of adult cell types into embryonic stem cells after cell fusion.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Scientific News
The Rise of 3D Cell Culture and in vitro Model Systems for Drug Discovery and Toxicology
An overview of the current technology and the challenges and benefits over 2D cell culture models plus some of the latest advances relating to human health research.
New NIH-EPA Research Centers to Study Environmental Health Disparities
Scientists will partner with community organizations to study these concerns and develop culturally appropriate ways to reduce exposure to harmful environmental conditions.
Structure of Essential Digestive Enzyme Uncovered
Using a powerful combination of techniques from biophysics to mathematics, researchers have revealed new insights into the mechanism of a liver enzyme that is critical for human health.
Air Pollution Linked to Heart Disease
10-year project revealed air pollutants accelerate plaque build-up in arteries to the heart.
Getting a Better Look at How HIV Infects and Takes Over its Host Cells
A new approach, developed by a team of researchers led by The Rockefeller University and The Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC), offers an unprecedented view of how a virus infects and appropriates a host cell, step by step.
Following Tricky Triclosan
Antibacterial product flows through streams, crops.
Vitamin A May Help Improve Pancreatic Cancer Chemotherapy
The addition of high doses of a form of vitamin A could help make chemotherapy more successful in treating pancreatic cancer, according to an early study by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).
Poverty Marks a Gene, Predicting Depression
New study of high-risk teens reveals a biological pathway for depression.
World’s Largest Coral Gene Database
‘Genetic toolkit’ will help shed light on which species survive climate change.
A Boost for Regenerative Medicine
Growing tissues and organs in the lab for transplantation into patients could become easier after scientists discovered an effective way to produce three-dimensional networks of blood vessels, vital for tissue survival yet a current stumbling block in regenerative medicine.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
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
3,100+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!