Navigation Links
USC researchers identify key mechanism that regulates the development of stem cells into neurons

Los Angeles, Calif. Nov. 10, 2008Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) have identified a novel mechanism in the regulation and differentiation of neural stem cells.

Researchers found that the protein receptor Ryk has a key role in the differentiation of neural stem cells, and demonstrated a signaling mechanism that regulates neuronal differentiation as stem cells begin to grow into neurons. The study will be published in the Nov. 11 issue of the journal Developmental Cell, and is now available online.

The findings could have important implications for regenerative medicine and cancer therapies, says Wange Lu, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and the principal investigator on the study.

"Neural stem cells can potentially be used for cell-replacement therapy for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease, as well as spinal cord injury," Lu says. "Knowledge gained from this study will potentially help to generate neurons for such therapy. This knowledge can also be used to inhibit the growth of brain cancer stem cells."

During brain development, neural stem cells respond to the surrounding environment by either proliferation or differentiation, but the molecular mechanisms underlying the development of neural stem cells and neurons are unclear, Lu notes.

Ryk functions as a receptor of Wnt proteins required for cell-fate determination, axon guidance and neurite outgrowth in organisms. Researchers at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC analyzed sections of the forebrain in animal model embryos to investigate Ryk's function in vivo.

They found that during neurogenesis, when neural stem cells start to grow into neurons, Ryk protein is cleaved and translocates to the cell nucleus to regulate neuronal differentiation.

This finding is extremely important for understanding the regulation of self-renewal and differentiation of neural stem cells, Lu says. Previous research has shown that Ryk functions as a receptor of Wnt proteins. However, the role of Ryk in neural stem cells and the molecular mechanism of Ryk signaling have not previously been known.

"This study will help in our efforts to produce nerve cells from embryonic stem cells, and may lead to the development of new strategies for the repair of the nervous system, using protein or small molecule therapeutic agents," says Martin Pera, Ph.D., director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC.

Further research is needed to explore how Ryk regulates neuronal gene expression, Lu says. Researchers are now expanding their research to studies of differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into neural stem cells and neurons. These studies are very important for regenerative medicine and drug discovery for therapy of neurodegenerative diseases.


Contact: Meghan Lewit
University of Southern California

Related medicine news :

1. Cornell researchers study showing evidence of a major environmental trigger for autism
2. Maastricht University researchers produce neural fingerprint of speech recognition
3. Researchers aim to over-stress already taxed mantle cell lymphoma cells
4. Researchers discover new risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and a way to control it
5. First Study of War-Related Mental Disorders Among Iraqis 10 Years Post-Gulf War Published by Researchers at Wayne State University and Basrah University, Iraq
6. Researchers find predictive tests and early treatment delay progression of blood cell cancer
7. Researchers describe how chronic inflammation can lead to stomach cancer
8. Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
9. Researchers identify mechanism, possible drug treatment for tumors in neurofibromatosis
10. Cancer requires support from immune system to develop, UT Southwestern researchers report
11. Researchers find new chemical key that could unlock hundreds of new antibiotics
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Apple Rehab Shelton Lakes , which specializes in the delivery of sub-acute ... of a disaster drill on October 3rd. , Apple Rehab participated with the Shelton ... well as the Connecticut Long Term Care Mutual Aid Plan (LTC-MAP). The LTC-MAP ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor and ... explains one of the most popular and least understood books in the Holy Scriptures, ... puzzling descriptions that have baffled scholars for centuries. Many have tossed it off as ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Del. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... and advisory services for healthcare compliance program management, will showcase a range of ... National Association for Assisted Living (NCAL) Convention and Expo to be held October ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The American College of ... Carol Friedman, PhD, FACMI, during the Opening Session of AMIA’s Annual Symposium in Washington, ... In honor of Morris F. Collen, a pioneer in the field of medical informatics, ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... , ... Leading pediatric oncology experts at Children’s National Health System ... of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) Oct. 12-15. Chaired by ... Blood Disorders at Children’s National, and Stephen P. Hunger, M.D., Chief of the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/25/2017)... 25, 2017   Montrium , an industry ... today—from the IQPC Trial Master Files & Inspection ... that EastHORN Clinical Services has selected eTMF ... TMF management. EastHORN, a leading European contract research ... increase transparency to enable greater collaboration with sponsors, ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... Sept. 19, 2017 HistoSonics, Inc., a venture-backed medical device company developing a non-invasive, ... tissues, announced three leadership team developments today:   ... ... ... Veteran medical device executive Josh Stopek , PhD, ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... NEW YORK , Sept. 12, 2017   EcoVadis , the ... chains, has published the first annual edition of its Global CSR Risk ... 20,400 companies evaluated by EcoVadis, based on Scorecard Ratings that analyzed nearly ... ... Performance Index ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: