Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene Directs Stem Cells To Build The Heart

Date:
July 3, 2008
Source:
Washington University School of Medicine
Summary:
Researchers have shown that they can put mouse embryonic stem cells to work building the heart, potentially moving medicine a significant step closer to a new generation of heart disease treatments that use human stem cells. Scientists report in Cell Stem Cell that the Mesp1 gene locks mouse embryonic stem cells into becoming heart parts and gets them moving to the area where the heart forms.

Researchers have shown that they can put mouse embryonic stem cells to work building the heart, potentially moving medical science a significant step closer to a new generation of heart disease treatments that use human stem cells.

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report in Cell Stem Cell that the Mesp1 gene locks mouse embryonic stem cells into becoming heart parts and gets them moving to the area where the heart forms. Researchers are now testing if stem cells exposed to Mesp1 can help fix damaged mouse hearts.

"This isn't the only gene we'll need to get stem cells to repair damaged hearts, but it's a key piece of the puzzle," says senior author Kenneth Murphy, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology and immunology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. "This gene is like the first domino in a chain: the Mesp1 protein activates genes that make other important proteins, and these in turn activate other genes and so on. The end result of these falling genetic dominoes is your whole cardiovascular system."

Embryonic stem cells have created considerable excitement because of their potential to become almost any specialized cell type. Scientists hope to use stem cells to create new tissue for treatment of a wide range of diseases and injuries. But first they have to learn how to coax them into becoming specialized tissue types such as nerve cells, skin cells or heart cells.

"That's the challenge to realizing the potential of stem cells," says Murphy. "We know some things about how the early embryo develops, but we need to learn a great deal more about how factors like Mesp1 control the roles that stem cells assume."

Mesp1 was identified several years ago by other researchers, who found that it was essential for the development of the cardiovascular system but did not describe how the gene works in embryonic stem cells.

Using mouse embryonic stem cells, Murphy's lab showed that Mesp1 starts the development of the cardiovascular system. They learned the gene's protein helps generate an embryonic cell layer known as the mesoderm, from which the heart, blood and other tissues develop. In addition, Mesp1 triggers the creation of a type of cell embryologists recently recognized as the heart's precursor.

They also found that stem cells exposed to the Mesp1 protein are locked into becoming one of three cardiovascular cell types: endothelial cells, which line the interior of blood vessels; smooth muscle cells, which are part of the walls of arteries and veins; or cardiac cells, which make up the heart.

"After they are exposed to Mesp1, the stem cells don't make any decisions for several days as to which of the three cell types they're going to become," Murphy notes. "The cues that cause them to make those commitments come later, in the form of proteins from other genes."

Researchers already know a number of the genes that shape the heart later in its development. Murphy plans to start tracing Mesp1's effects from gene to gene--following the falling genetic dominoes, which branch out into the pathways that form the three cardiac cell types.

"If we can find gene combinations that only make endothelium or cardiac or smooth muscle, then that could be applied to tailoring embryonic stem cells for therapies later on," he says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lindsley RC, Gill JG, Murphy TL, Langer EM, Cai M, Mashayekhi M, Wang W, Niwa N, Nerbonne JM, Kyba M and Murphy KM. Mesp1 coordinately regulates cardiovascular fate restriction and epithelial-mesenchymal transition in differentiating ES cells. Cell Stem Cell, July 3, 2008

Cite This Page:

Washington University School of Medicine. "Gene Directs Stem Cells To Build The Heart." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080702121143.htm>.
Washington University School of Medicine. (2008, July 3). Gene Directs Stem Cells To Build The Heart. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080702121143.htm
Washington University School of Medicine. "Gene Directs Stem Cells To Build The Heart." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080702121143.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins