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A*STAR scientists make groundbreaking discovery on stem cell regulation
Date:3/1/2012

A*STAR scientists have for the first time, identified that precise regulation of polyamine levels is critical for embryonic stem cell (ESC) self-renewal the ability of ESCs to divide indefinitely and directed differentiation. This paper is crucial for better understanding of ESC regulation and was published in the journal Genes & Development on 1st March by the team of scientists from the Institute of Medical Biology (IMB), a research institute under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

Embryonic stem cells hold great potential for the development of cellular therapies, where stem cells are used to repair tissue damaged by disease or trauma. This is due to their unique ability to renew themselves and differentiate into any specific types of cell in the body. One of the challenges with cellular therapies is ensuring that ESCs are fully and efficiently differentiated into the correct cell type. This study sheds light on understanding how ESCs are regulated, which is essential to overcome these challenges and turn the vision of cell therapies into reality.

Using a mouse model, the team of scientists from IMB showed that high levels of Amd1 , a key enzyme in the polyamine synthesis pathway, is essential for maintenance of the ESC state and self renewal of ESCs. To further demonstrate the critical role of Amd1 in ESC self-renewal, the scientists showed that increasing Amd1 levels led to delayed ESC differentiation. The research also revealed that downregulation of Amd1 was necessary for differentiation of ESCs into neural precursor cells and that Amd1 is translationally regulated by a micro-RNA (miRNA), the first ever demonstration of miRNA-mediated regulation of the polyamine pathway.

While the polyamine pathway is well established and polyamines are known to be important in cancer and cell proliferation, their role in ESC regulation until now was unknown. This novel discovery, linking polyamine regulatio
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Contact: Ong Siok Ming
ong_siok_ming@a-star.edu.sg
65-682-66254
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Source:Eurekalert

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