Navigation Links
When is a stem cell not really a stem cell?

Working with embryonic mouse brains, a team of Johns Hopkins scientists seems to have discovered an almost-too-easy way to distinguish between true neural stem cells and similar, but less potent versions. Their finding, reported this week in Nature, could simplify the isolation of stem cells not only from brain but also other body tissues.

What the researchers identified is a specific protein signal that appears to prevent neural stem cells the sort that might be used to rebuild a damaged nervous system from taking their first step toward becoming neurons. Stem cells dont instantly convert into functional adult tissue, says author Nicholas Gaiano, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Institute for Cell Engineering. They undergo a stepwise maturation where they gradually shed their stem cell properties.

The first step turns stem cells into progenitor cells by dictating how signals downstream of a protein called Notch, which regulates stem cells in many different tissues, are transmitted. One well known target of Notch is a protein called CBF1. To help study Notch signaling further, Gaiano and his team created genetically engineered mouse embryos that glow green when CBF1 is turned on.

To their surprise, they noticed that during brain development some of the brain cells generally thought to be neural stem cells stopped glowing, indicating that the CBF1 protein was no longer active in them. A closer look revealed that those cells that went dark were in fact no longer true neural stem cells, which can form all major brain cell types, but instead had aged into progenitor cells, which form mostly neurons.

They tested whether CBF1 was the critical switch by chemically knocking out the protein in neural stem cells. The knockout got the stem cells to rapidly convert to progenitor cells. However, if we activated the CBF1 protein in progenitor cells we couldnt get them to shift back into stem cells, says Gaiano. So whatever happens biochemically once CBF1 is turned off seems to create a one-way street.

Another recent study, using the mouse line generated by the Gaiano group, found that CBF1 signaling may play the same role in blood stem cells, leading Gaiano to suspect that his teams discovery might be a general switch distinguishing stem cells from progenitors in many different tissues.


Contact: Nick Zagorski
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Related biology news :

1. Whats really making you sick? Plant pathologists offer the science behind Sick Building Syndrome
2. Researchers seek to discover what really happens when a virus enters the body
3. What does the public really know about HPV?
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/16/2015)... , Nov 16, 2015  Synaptics Inc. ... human interface solutions, today announced expansion of its ... ™ touch controller and display driver integration ... of smartphones. These new TDDI products add to ... (HD resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 (FHD ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... Minn. , Nov. 11, 2015   MedNet Solutions ... entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to announce that ... in Clinical Trials (PCT) event, to be held November ... be able to view live demonstrations of iMedNet ... and learn how iMedNet has been able to ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... JOSE, Calif. , Nov. 9, 2015  Synaptics ... human interface solutions, today announced broader entry into the ... vehicle-specific solutions that match the pace of consumer electronics ... and biometric sensors are ideal for the automotive industry ... vehicle. Europe , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... Muncie, IN (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 ... ... Aeronautics (AMA) and the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OPBAP) has been formalized ... Mathewson and other AMA team leaders met with OPBAP leaders Capt. Karl Minter ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... PORTLAND, Oregon , November 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Deep Market Research Report is a professional and ... Genomics industry.      (Logo: ... basic overview of the industry including definitions, classifications, ... analysis is provided for the international markets including ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) ... research organisation (CRO) market. The trend of outsourcing ... lower margins but higher volume share for the ... and scale, however, margins in the CRO industry ... (CRO) Market ( ), finds that ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ... at the following conference, and invited investors to participate ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December ...
Breaking Biology Technology: