Skip to comments.Researchers Identify Proteins Key in Stem Cell Production
Posted on 07/29/2013 10:02:49 PM PDT by neverdem
A multinational team of scientists led by Prof Benjamin Blencowe from the University of Toronto has identified proteins that play a key role in controlling pluripotency, which may mean a potential breakthrough in producing the so-called induced pluripotent stem cells.
Induced pluripotent stem cells can be of great value for medical research because they can flexibly develop into many different types of cells. However, producing these cells is challenging because the proteins that control their generation are largely unknown.
The team discovered the proteins using the splicing code developed a few years ago by Prof Blencowe.
“The mechanisms that control embryonic stem cell pluripotency have remained a mystery for some time, explained Dr Brendan Frey, also from the University of Toronto, who is a co-author of the study published in the journal Nature.
However, what Prof Blencowe and the research team found is that the proteins identified by our splicing code can activate or deactivate stem cell pluripotency.”
“Suppose you’ve tasted many wonderful gourmet dishes, but you have absolutely no idea what’s needed to make them. Then, one day, you discover that there’s something called a ‘measuring cup’ that is used by all of the gourmet chefs. Now you understand something important about how dishes are prepared, and you also know about a ‘control knob’ that can be turned in order to make different dishes, just as adjusting the amount of butter and flour will give a different kind of pastry.”
And while a complete recipe for producing the induced pluripotent stem cells may not be available yet, it’s beginning to look more likely, Dr Frey said.
Bibliographic information: Hong Han et al. 2013. MBNL proteins repress ES-cell-specific alternative splicing and reprogramming. Nature 498, 241245; doi: 10.1038/nature12270
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