Navigation Links
Stem cells: In search of a master controller
Date:5/6/2010

HOUSTON -- (May 6, 2010) -- With thousands of scientists across the globe searching for ways to use adult stem cells to fight disease, there's a growing emphasis on finding the "master regulators" that guide the differentiation of stem cells. New research from Rice University and the University of Cambridge suggests that a closely connected trio of regulatory proteins fulfills that role in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), the self-renewing cells the body uses to make new blood cells.

The results appear today in the online journal PLoS Computational Biology. Working with experimentalists at Cambridge, Rice bioengineers Oleg Igoshin and Jatin Narula created a computer model that accurately describes the observed behavior of the three regulatory proteins that are collectively known as the "Scl-Gata2-Fli1 triad."

"We don't yet have the experimental verification that this is the master-level regulator for HSCs, but based on our model, we can say that it has all the properties that we would expect to find in a master-level regulator," said Igoshin, an assistant professor in bioengineering at Rice.

All plants and animals have stem cells, a constantly replenished feedstock of unspecialized progenitor cells that have the ability to become any of several specialized types of cell. An HSC is a type of adult stem cell that forms new blood cells. In a healthy human adult, HSCs are used to form about 100 billion new white and red blood cells each day.

But HSCs also need to be able to self-renew, or make the additional stem cells needed to replenish the body's supply. Self-renewal becomes particularly important after significant blood loss through injury or when patients receive bone marrow transplants.

Igoshin and Narula, a graduate student, worked with experimentalists Aileen Smith and Berthold Gottgens at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research to create a mathematical model that accurately describes the complex interplay among the three HSC regulatory proteins in the Scl-Gata2-Fli1 triad. Based on previous studies at Cambridge, it was obvious that the triad plays an essential role in HSC development. In creating their computer model, Igoshin and Narula were able to quantify the way the three interact and thus shed light on their combined role in regulating HSCs.

To qualify as a master regulator, the triad needed to meet two criteria. It had to act as a "bistable" switch, a one-way button that toggled from the "replenish HSC" state to the "differentiate" state. Second, it needed to ignore extraneous signals and throw the switch only when a signal persisted.

"In examining the results from the model, we found the triad did have the characteristics of a master regulator," Narula said. "The first time it's switched on, all the cells stay on. It also handles deactivation in a controlled manner, so that some cells differentiate and get deactivated and others don't. Finally, it has the ability to discern whether or not the level of signal is present only for a short burst or for a significantly long time."

Igoshin said additional experimental research is needed to verify the computer model's prediction that the Scl-Gata2-Fli1 triad is the master-level controller for HSCs. However, he said the prediction is particularly intriguing in light of previous studies that suggest other similarly wired regulatory triads are key players in other types of stem cells, including embryonic stem cells.

"It's possible that this triad motif is reused elsewhere," Igoshin said. "The proteins could be different in each case, but the motif structure of their interconnections is common and may be repeated elsewhere in nature. That's one of the most intriguing aspects of this research."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jade Boyd
jadeboyd@rice.edu
713-348-6778
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Type 1 diabetes triggered by lazy regulatory T-cells: McGill researchers
2. From sheet metal elements to host cells: DFG launches 10 new collaborative research centers
3. HIV-1 protease inhibitor induced oxidative stress in pancreatic B-cells: thymoquinone protection
4. Induced neural stem cells: Not quite ready for prime time
5. Research shows skeleton to be endocrine organ
6. Newly created cancer stem cells could aid breast cancer research
7. Dominant cholesterol-metabolism ideas challenged by new research
8. Researchers identify proteins involved in new neurodegenerative syndrome
9. Texas researchers and educators head for Antarctica
10. MGH researchers describe new way to identify, evolve novel enzymes
11. University of Pennsylvania researchers develop formula to gauge risk of disease clusters
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Stem cells: In search of a master controller
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 The ... Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, ... Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion ... and 2022. The base year considered for the study ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 The Controller General of Immigration from ... Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the ... Continue Reading ... ... Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based ... to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD ... 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. ... Cancer Research, London (ICR) and University ... SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma ... MUK nine . The University of Leeds ... partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has ... The bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to ... period. , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017 International research firm Parks Associates announced ... at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in ... residential home security market and how smart safety and security products impact ... Parks Associates: Smart Home ... "The residential security market has ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... DIEGO , Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech ... biological mechanism by which its ProCell stem cell ... critical limb ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that treatment ... amount of limbs saved as compared to standard ... the molecule HGF resulted in reduction of therapeutic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: