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:11/25/2015)... Missouri (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... HEAL, will provide scholarships for people struggling with eating disorders as a result ... from the second annual event, held at Fox Run Golf Club in Eureka, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... An unlikely combination of recycled ... way for homeless people to have a more dignified and comfortable night’s sleep. ... they are repurposing plastic bags into sleeping mats for the homeless. The ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Mateo, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... in prizes were awarded to winners of the Create Real Impact awards. California ... creative expression to help stem the tide of distracted and reckless driving, the number ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... GA (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... Dr. ... to now offer laser services to many of his patients. Dr. Afferica now uses ... designed to reduce the amount of time the doctor uses other traditional cutting tools, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... SAN FRANCISCO, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 24, ... ... launched half-cup sizes, has launched their Black Friday sale a week early, offering ... ThirdLove continues to transform the intimate apparel industry through both mobile fit technology ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 ... Investors"), pursuant to which BioLight and the New Investors ... Ltd. subsidiary ("IOPtima") via a private placement. The financing ... its innovative IOPtimate™ system used in the treatment of ... pathway process for the IOPtimate™ system with the U.S. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 --> ... eine Lizenz für das Patent über eine neue Hepatitis-B-Behandlung, ... ENS-Lyon innehaben, an Enyo Pharma vergeben haben. ... Leben gerufenen und von Edelris gemeinsam mit seinen Partnern ... Behandlungsziel für HBV identifiziert, und es wurden neue Inhaltsstoffe ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Calif. , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... leader in non-invasive genetic testing and the ... that it will present at the 27 ... York on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. ET.  Matthew Rabinowitz, ... Company,s financial results, business activities and financial ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: