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Proteins that control energy use necessary to form stem cells
Date:3/20/2014

duction of another protein, called TRAIL, for TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand, that is known to, among other things, cause tumor cells to self-destruct through a process called apoptosis.

Zhou said the findings suggest that there may be other proteins in this protein family that are playing alternating "good guy/bad guy" roles during stem cell development. "It is very intriguing that HIF2α has the capacity to both promote and repress pluripotency, doing so at different stages in a cellular reprogramming process," she said.

The findings have several implications for stem cell research, says Mathieu: first, they indicate that it may be possible to use HIF1α to greatly increase the number of stem cells in a culture and, second, they suggest it may be possible to induce stem cell formation with HIF proteins alone or in combination with other stimulating factors without inserting genes at the start of the reprogramming process.

But the findings may also have important implications for cancer research Ruohola-Baker added: Both HIF1α and 2α are known to play an important role in the process in which normal cells are transformed into cancer stem cells from which tumors grow, indeed, the presence of activated HIF1α is known to be a marker for aggressive disease.

The finding of this study suggest, Ruohola-Baker said, that it might be possible to interfere with cancer development by either blocking the effect of HIF1α in malignant cells early in the process or stimulating the effect of HIF2 at a later stage.


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Contact: Kim Blakeley
krb13@uw.edu
206-685-1323
University of Washington - Health Sciences/UW News, Community Relations & Marketing
Source:Eurekalert  

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