Navigation Links
Stem cell discovery sheds light on placenta development
Date:6/9/2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. Researchers studying embryonic stem cells have explored the first fork in the developmental road, getting a new look at what happens when fertilized eggs differentiate to build either an embryo or a placenta.

By manipulating a specific gene in a mouse blastocyst the structure that develops from a fertilized egg but is not yet an actual embryo scientists with the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute caused cells destined to build an embryo to instead change direction and build the cell mass that leads to the placenta.

Writing in today's (Monday, June 9) online edition of Nature Genetics, the scientists reveal a cellular signaling mechanism in place at the earliest developmental stage.

Understanding the conditions that cause these cells to go off to different fates may have a bearing on health problems such as ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when the embryo develops outside of the womb in about 1 of 60 pregnancies, or molar pregnancy, which is abnormal tissue growth within the uterus that affects about 1 in every 1,000 pregnancies.

"We originally were exploring factors that might cause embryonic stem cells to become malignant there is a concern that these cells may cause tumors," said Chi-Wei Lu, Ph.D., an associate neuroscientist at the UF College of Medicine and lead author of the study. "Our experiments led us to discover the signal that initiates the process of embryonic tissue differentiation."

By activating a gene called Ras in cells bathed in a very specific culture medium, scientists were able to cause embryonic stem cells which originate from the inner cell mass of the blastocyst to become more like the trophoblastic stem cells that give rise to the placenta from the outer portion of the blastocyst.

Researchers marked these newly minted cells, which they called ES-TS cells, and injected them into mouse embryos. Instead of joining the stem cells that build the embryo, ES-TS cells joined the stem cells that build the placenta. Furthermore, when scientists transferred the engineered mouse embryos to foster mothers, the ES-TS cells went to work exclusively laying the foundation for the placenta.

"This paper highlights the value of embryonic stem cells for understanding early development," said senior author George Q. Daley, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and an associate professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston. "Embryonic stem cells are more plastic than we had thought. By simply activating the Ras gene, we changed the fate of embryonic stem cells to an entirely unexpected tissue the placenta. This surprising result has given us an unanticipated insight into early embryo development."

The technique of genetically modifying the cells and growing them in a special medium could be valuable for additional research.

"This is exciting because events that only occur in the early stages of embryonic development are very difficult to study," Lu said. "Just a few models exist, and even in mice, only a limited amount of embryos can be harvested. Now we can culture these cells and have unlimited material to study."

Researchers are only beginning to understand the natural chemical environments that allow for production of different tissues.

"What is nice is that what she has observed in cultures appears to be quite similar to what goes on in early development in animals," said R. Michael Roberts, D.Phil., a professor of molecular biology at the C.S. Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri-Columbia who did not participate in the research. "Normally, mouse embryonic stem cells aren't easily converted along the pathway to form placental cells, while human embryonic stem cells undergo this transition quite easily. This has always been a puzzle. What she has shown is you can make mouse embryonic stem cells convert unidirectionally to trophoblasts by activating a single gene. This is very helpful for understanding how the placenta develops."


'/>"/>

Contact: John Pastor
jdpastor@ufl.edu
352-273-5815
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Discovery of sugar sensor in intestine could benefit diabetes
2. Discovery suggests location of genes for breast density, a strong risk factor for breast cancer
3. Stem cell research produces a key discovery for Fragile X Syndrome
4. Welch Foundation gives $1.6 million for drug discovery research
5. New discovery leaves blood-doping athletes scratching their heads
6. Chemical Diversity Initiates International Prostrate Cancer Discovery Partnership
7. New discovery leaves blood-doping athletes scratching their heads
8. Discovery of widespread tumor growth gene holds promise for effective anti-cancer treatment
9. Discovery supports theory of Alzheimers disease as form of diabetes
10. Discovery Health CME Explores the Benefits and Risks of Aspirin in Aspirin Therapy: Maximizing the Benefits
11. New discovery may improve treatment of one of the worlds leading causes of blindness
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/26/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 26, 2017 , ... ODH, Inc.™ ... Care Summit, February 27-28 at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel in Arlington, VA. ODH’s ... PerformCARE to use behavioral health analytics to improve Medicaid population health management. , ODH ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , ... February 24, 2017 , ... ... newly designed TaskMate Go. Core benefits and advantages built into the home office ... stylish, functional look and feel. Ability to gain the benefits embedded in the ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... February 24, 2017 , ... An in-depth computational analysis ... University of Pittsburgh points to eight genes that may explain why susceptibility to one ... the results of a study published today in the journal npj Schizophrenia. , ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... 2017 , ... With millions of Americans and people worldwide ... all are aware of our options and are empowered with strength and information ... of its newest edition of "Vision and Hearing" in USA Today, that will ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... February 24, 2017 , ... The California State University Institute for Palliative ... in or interested in palliative care education and research. The Symposium, “Innovate. Investigate. ... County San Diego on Sept. 28 and 29, 2017, on the campus of California ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... YORK , Feb. 23, 2017  This report ... Thousand by the following Products: Intermediates, ... in the report include Pharmaceuticals, and Agrochemicals. The report ... Japan , Europe , and ... for the period 2015 through 2022. Also, a six-year ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... 24, 2017  Xynomic Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an oncology drug ... has acquired exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture ... inhibitor targeting hematological and solid tumors. ... and 2 clinical trials of Abexinostat in US, ... already been completed, demonstrating that Abexinostat is clinically ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... -- Genesis Healthcare Services has merged with Hospice Cloud, a ... Bill Monast , President and CEO of Hospice Cloud ... , executives with Home Health Depot, Inc., the parent ... This acquisition helps Hospice Cloud maintain its position as ... equipment (DME) solutions for the hospice industry. Nathan ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: