Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Stem Cells, Cellular Therapy & Biobanking
>
Scientific Community
 
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 2,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,200+ 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

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
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
"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
Bile Acid Supports Production of Blood Stem Cells
A research group at Lund University has been able to show that bile acid is transferred from the mother to the foetus via the placenta to enable the foetus to produce blood stem cells.
New Biomarker to Assess Stem Cells Developed
A research team led by scientists from UCL have found a way to assess the viability of 'manufactured' stem cells known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The team's discovery offers a new way to fast-track screening methods used in stem cell research.
Tricked-Out Immune Cells Could Attack Cancer
New cell-engineering technique may lead to precision immunotherapies.
Edited Stem Cells Offer Hope of Precision Therapy for Blindness
Findings raise the possibility of treating blinding eye diseases using a patient's own corrected cells as replacement tissue.
Hacking the Programs of Cancer Stem Cells
All tumor cells are the offspring of a single, aberrant cell, but they are not all alike.
Newfound Strength in Regenerative Medicine
A promising new approach uses direct mechanical stimulation to repair severely damaged skeletal muscles.
Mapping out Cell Conversion
Researchers develop algorithm that takes the field of cell reprogramming forward.
Donor's Genotype Controls the Differentiation of IPS Cells
Pluripotent stem cells derived from different cell types are equally susceptible to reprogramming, indicates a recent study by the University of Helsinki and the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland. However, the genotype of the donor strongly influences the differentiation of the stem cell.
Signals That Make Early Stem Cells Identified
Researchers at The Rockefeller University have identified a new mechanism by which cells are instructed during development to become stem cells
Healing Scarred Hearts
Findings suggest stem cells may one day be used to regenerate damaged tissue after heart attack.
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
2,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,200+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!