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

Edinburgh Scientists Identify Factor that Poises Stem Cells for Specialization

Published: Friday, August 03, 2007
Last Updated: Friday, August 03, 2007
Bookmark and Share
Researchers show that mouse embryonic stem cells need the protein FGF4 to become competent to be converted into specialized cell types.

In a paper published in the latest edition of the journal Development, scientists at the Institute for Stem Cell Research, of the University of Edinburgh, show that mouse embryonic stem cells need the protein FGF4 to become competent to be converted into specialized cell types, such as brain or muscle cells.

These findings add to the growing body of knowledge that researchers all over the world are using to direct embryonic stem cells to become specific specialized cells – a fundamental requirement for using lab-grown cells to model disease, test the effects of new drugs and, potentially, treat disease and injury.

Embryonic stem cells have the unique ability to divide to produce both copies of themselves and other, more specialized, cell types. The process whereby embryonic stem cells commit to become specialized cells is still obscure. In particular, the precise role of the protein Fibroblast Growth Factor 4 (FGF4) in this key decision point has been uncertain, until now.

Dr Tilo Kunath and Prof Austin Smith, together with collaborators in Montreal, Canada, show that FGF4 is not involved in the maintenance of cells in the naïve, self-renewing state but is essential to prime cells into a transitional stage, wherein they can go down any one of several paths.

Says Tilo, ‘Depending on the signal presented to the mouse embryonic stem cells, they can go back to the naïve state, and divide without limit, or down one of several specialization pathways, including routes towards nerve cells or muscle cells. We have coined a name for the cells in this stage – we call them ‘commitment-competent’ cells, in contrast to the embryonic stem cells who do not receive a signal from FGF4, which we call ‘commitment-phobic’.

Human embryonic stem cells need FGF protein to grow in a dish. Whether this is required for maintenance of the human stem cells, or for priming the cells for specialization, similarly to FGF4, is not yet known. If confirmed in human embryonic stem cells, these latest findings provide a further handle on how to manipulate these cells so as to direct them down specific pathways and obtain specialized cells.


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.

Related Content

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
Why Stem Cells Need to Stick with their Friends
Scientists have identified a core set of functionally relevant factors which regulates embryonic stem cells’ ability for self-renewal.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
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
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
Health Risks of Saturated Fats Aggravated by Immune Response
Research shows that the presence of saturated fats resulted in monocytes migrating into the tissues of vital organs.
Changing the Biological Data Visualisation World
Scientists at TGAC, alongside European partners, have created a cutting-edge, open source community for the life sciences.
NIH Study Finds Calorie Restriction Lowers Some Risk Factors for Age-Related Diseases
Two-year trial did not produce expected metabolic changes, but influenced other life span markers.
Immunotherapy Agent Benefits Patients with Drug-Resistant Multiple Myeloma in First Human Trial
Daratumumab proved generally safe in patients, even at the highest doses.
Low-level Arsenic Exposure Before Birth Associated with Early Puberty in Female Mice
Study examine whether low-dose arsenic exposure could have similar health outcomes in humans.
Inciting an Immune Attack On Cancer Cells
A new minimally invasive vaccine that combines cancer cells and immune-enhancing factors could be used clinically to launch a destructive attack on tumors.
‘Mutation-Tracking’ Blood Test for Breast Cancer
Scientists have developed a blood test for breast cancer able to identify which patients will suffer a relapse after treatment, months before tumours are visible on hospital scans.
Cellular Contamination Pathway for Heavy Elements Identified
Berkeley Lab scientists find that an iron-binding protein can transport actinides into cells.
Intensity of Desert Storms May Affect Ocean Phytoplankton
MIT study finds phytoplankton are extremely sensitive to changing levels of desert dust.
Common ‘Heart Attack’ Blood Test May Predict Future Hypertension
Small rises in troponin levels may have value as markers for subclinical heart damage and high blood pressure.
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
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!