An Ethical and Scientific Test
With rapid advances in the field of stem cells including methods to induce pluripotence in various cells, such as those that comprise human skin the question of how to define pluripotence has become increasingly critical. This is especially the case for human cell lines, which for both ethical and scientific reasons cannot be treated as those from other species.
"There has been no ethically acceptable equivalent test that could prove pluripotency in human cell preparations," said Franz-Josef Mueller, M.D., an investigator at Scripps. "Many have been purported to be multi- or pluripotent, but there has been no practical way to define pluripotency in human cells."
Using a collection of about 150 human stem cell samples, the researchers created a database of global gene expression profiles and discovered that all of the pluripotent stem cell lines showed a remarkable similarity in the analysis, while other cell types were more diverse.
The analysis by Shamir's lab revealed a protein-protein network common to pluripotent cells, pointing to what may be one of the key building blocks of the machinery that enables these transformative cells to differentiate into multiple cell types. Next, the researchers plan to investigate the regulation of this protein network and how it might be used to advance the development of human gene therapies.
|Contact: George Hunka|
American Friends of Tel Aviv University