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MDC scientists show how hematopoietic stem cell development is regulated
Date:10/6/2009

self-renewal. Moreover, the HSCs were restricted in their formation of B cells and T cells (blood cells of the lymphatic system and important cells of the immune system).

However, the HSCs were able to form red blood cells, which are important for oxygen transport and belong to the blood cells of the myeloerythroid system. In other words, the DNA methylation level regulates which blood cell lineages develop or not from a hematopoietic stem cell.

Cancer stem cells

Methylation processes also play a role in numerous cancer diseases. As the MDC researchers were able to show, the DNA methylation by the enzyme Dnmt1 also controls the development of leukemic stem cells.

If the DNA methylation level is low, cancer stem cell renewal is restricted. Moreover, the formation of leukemic cells of B-cell lineage (acute B-cell leukemia ALL) is blocked.

The question is whether diseased stem cells can be switched off, possibly through a blockade of the enzyme Dnmt1. Dr. Rosenbauer and his research team want to make a more detailed investigation of this question in a further project.


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Contact: Barbara Bachtler
bachtler@mdc-berlin.de
49-309-406-3896
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

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