Believing that there might be some intrinsic gene expression difference between the lines of iPS cells with varying levels of pluripotency that could be identified at early culture stages, so that less viable lines could be abandoned and more viable lines focused on, Zhou teamed up with bioinformatics specialist Xiu-Jie Wang, who works at the Chinese academy's Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology.
Together, their groups profiled the small RNA expression patterns of ES and iPS cell lines from different genetic backgrounds and with different pluripotent levels using Solexa technology.
"There are nearly 50 miRNAs encoded in this region, and those expressed miRNAs all exhibited consistent and significant expression differences between stem-cell lines with different pluripotency levels," Wang said. "With this discovery, iPS cells with different pluripotency can be distinguished in their early phases, which will, thus, significantly improve the production of full pluripotent iPS cells and promote their application in disease therapy," Wang said.
As stem cells can be applied in the treatment of many diseases related to tissue replacement or organ implantation, Zhou said, if the team's findings also are true for humans, "it will cause a revolution in stem-cell research and the application of it in the very near future."
|Contact: Angela Hopp|
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology