Navigation Links
Scripps Research team provides groundbreaking new understanding of stem cells
Date:5/2/2010

LA JOLLA, CA April 28, 2010 In findings that could one day lead to new therapies, researchers from The Scripps Research Institute have described some striking differences between the biochemistry of stem cells versus mature cells.

The study, led by Scripps Research Associate Professor Sheng Ding and Senior Director of the Scripps Research Center for Mass Spectrometry Gary Siuzdak, was published in an advance, online edition of the prestigious journal Nature Chemical Biology on May 2, 2010.

In the research, the team used a unique approach to better understand stem cells, which have the ability to change or "differentiate" into adult cell types (such as hair cells, skin cells, nerve cells). Understanding how stem cells mature opens the door for scientists and physicians to manipulate the process to meet the needs of patients, potentially treating such intractable conditions as Parkinson's disease and spinal injury.

"In the past, scientists trying to understand stem cell biology focused on genes and proteins," said Ding. "In our study, we looked at stem cell regulation in a different wayon the biochemical level, on a functional level. With metabolomics profiling, we were able to look at naturally occurring small molecules and how they control cell fate on a completely different level."

The new paper describes parts of the stem cell "metabolome" the complete set of substances ("metabolites") formed in metabolism, including all naturally occurring small molecules, biofluids, and tissues. The scientists then compared this profile to those of more mature cells, specifically of nerve cells and heart cells.

When the results were tallied, the scientists had found about 60 previously unidentified metabolites associated with the progression of stem cells to mature cells, as well as an unexpected pattern in the chemistry that mirrored the cells' increasing biological maturity.

Ripe for Discovery

The study of metabolomics is relatively new, having emerged only over the past decade or so.

"One of the most interesting aspects of metabolomics is how little we know," commented Siuzdak. "We don't know what the vast majority of metabolites are, or what they do. It is an area ripe for discovery."

Research in metabolomics is made possible by a variety of special techniques and equipment. In the current study, the team used liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LCMS), which draws on two more traditional techniques to provide scientists with the ability to chemically analyze virtually any molecular species. The group then analyzed the resulting data using an open-access bioinformatics platform XCMS, a now-popular technique developed by Siuzdak and colleagues described in a 2006 article in the journal Analytical Chemistry. The XCMS software allows researchers to identify and assess metabolite and peptide features that show significant change between sample groupsin this case mouse stem cells versus mature cells.

The most difficult part of untargeted metabolomics studies is analyzing the results and characterizing metabolites, according to Research Associate Oscar Yanes of the Siuzdak lab, the new paper's first author.

Nevertheless, Yanes shifted though the data on stem cells and identified an unexpected pattern: stem cell metabolites had highly unsaturated structures compared with mature cells, and levels of highly unsaturated molecules decreased as the stem cells matured. Highly unsaturated molecules, which contain little hydrogen, can easily react and change into many other different types of molecules.

"The study reveals an astounding cellular strategy," commented Yanes. "The capacity of embryonic stem cells to generate a whole spectrum of cell types characteristic of different tissues (a phenomenon referred to as plasticity) is mirrored at the metabolic level."

"We were not expecting these results," said Siuzdak, "although in retrospect it makes sense that stem cells (which can form almost any cell) have metabolites that are chemically flexible."

Confirming their observations, the researchers found that by chemically blocking the usual route to saturationoxidationthey were able to prevent stem cells' normal progress into mature heart and nerve cells. Conversely, when specific oxidized metabolites were introduced into the culture, stem cell differentiation was promoted.

Ding notes the study also provides a new perspective on fatty acids similar to those found in fish oil and other nutriceuticals.

"In the past, people focused on the fact that fatty acids were important to create cell membranes, the scaffolding of our cells," said Ding. "But in our study, we show that different fatty acids don't just play a role in constituting cell membranes, but also have functions in directing cell fate."


'/>"/>

Contact: Keith McKeown
kmckeown@scripps.edu
858-784-8134
Scripps Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New Scripps Research and GNF study helps explain how we can sense temperatures
2. Scripps Research scientists reveal how genetic mutations may cause type 1 diabetes
3. New nano-tool synthesized at Scripps Research Institute
4. Scripps Research scientists solve mystery of fragile stem cells
5. Scripps research team reveals how an old drug could have a new use for treating river blindness
6. Scripps Research scientists find two compounds that lay the foundation for a new class of AIDS drug
7. Scripps Research scientists create new way to screen libraries of 10 million or more compounds
8. Scripps Research team wins global race to achieve landmark synthesis of perplexing natural product
9. Scripps Florida scientists show lifeless prions capable of evolutionary change and adaptation
10. Scripps research team develops technique to determine ethnic origin of stem cell lines
11. Scripps Research scientists crack mystery of proteins dual function
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/8/2017)... 2017 Report Highlights The global ... $8.3 billion in 2016 at a compound annual growth ... Report Includes - An overview of the global market ... data from 2015 and 2016, and projections of compound ... the market on the basis of product type, source, ...
(Date:2/6/2017)... Feb. 6, 2017 According to Acuity ... driving border authorities to continue to embrace biometric ... are 2143 Automated Border Control (ABC) eGates and ... at more than 163 ports of entry across ... 2016 achieving a combined CAGR of 37%. APC ...
(Date:2/2/2017)...  EyeLock LLC, a market leader of iris-based identity ... What You Should Know About Biometrics in the Cloud ... is a growing concern. In traditional schemes, cryptography is ... authentication schemes such as username/password suffer from inherent weaknesses. ... an elegant solution to the problem of high-security user ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... and NEW YORK ... HIMSS, Lumeon , a leading digital health ... Telehealth), a provider of telemedicine and remote patient ... pathways for telemedicine reimbursements.  DN ... their patients, in real-time, extending consultations beyond a ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... portfolio to include an array of biochemical analyses critical for Lead Discovery. ... drive their hit-to-lead and SAR programs, including inhibitor potency and selectivity, mechanism of ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Feb. 23, 2017  MIODx announced today that ... key immunotherapy technologies from the University of California, ... method to monitor a patient for response to ... CTLA-4.  The second license extends the technology with ... likely to have an immune-related adverse event (IRAE) ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... 23, 2017  Seattle,s upscale Capitol Hill neighborhood, with its swanky ... for a head lice treatment salon to set up shop. ... restaurant and a French bistro on E Madison Ave, and ... just any old lice clinic, we pride ourselves on being ... release some of the stigma associated with lice. Everyone can ...
Breaking Biology Technology: