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'Glow-in-the-dark' red blood cells made from human stem cells

Date:
November 29, 2009
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
Stem cell scientists have modified a human embryonic stem cell (hESC) line to glow red when the stem cells become red blood cells. The modified hESC line, ErythRED, represents a major step forward to the eventual aim of generating mature, fully functional red blood cells from human embryonic stem cells.
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Human embryonic stem cells modified to glow red when the stem cells become red blood cells.
Credit: Image courtesy of Monash University

Victorian stem cell scientists from Monash University have modified a human embryonic stem cell (hESC) line to glow red when the stem cells become red blood cells.

The modified hESC line, ErythRED, represents a major step forward to the eventual aim of generating mature, fully functional red blood cells from human embryonic stem cells.

The research, conducted by a team led by Professors Andrew Elefanty and Ed Stanley at the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories that included scientists at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, was published inthe August 25 issue of the journal, Nature Methods.

The work, funded by the Australian Stem Cell Centre (ASCC), will help scientists to track the differentiation of embryonic stem cells into red blood cells.

Whilst hESCs have the potential to turn into any cell type in the body, it remains a scientific challenge to reliably turn these stem cells into specific cell types such as red blood cells. The development of the ErythRED embryonic stem cell line, which fluoresces red when haemoglobin genes are switched on, is an important development that will help researchers to optimise the conditions that generate these cells.

Professor Joe Sambrook, Scientific Director of the ASCC said that "The elegant work of the Elefanty-Stanley group unlocks the entrance to the long sought and elusive differentiation pathway that leads to expression of adult haemoglobin genes."

"Not only will the ErythRED cell line lead to more efficient creation of red blood cells from human embryonic stem cells, but these cells are a crucial tool for monitoring the behaviour of the cells when transplanted into animal models," said Professor Andrew Elefanty.

The research was supported by the Australian Stem Cell Centre, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the National Health and Medical Research Foundation.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Monash University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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Monash University. "'Glow-in-the-dark' red blood cells made from human stem cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090824115915.htm>.
Monash University. (2009, November 29). 'Glow-in-the-dark' red blood cells made from human stem cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090824115915.htm
Monash University. "'Glow-in-the-dark' red blood cells made from human stem cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090824115915.htm (accessed July 31, 2015).

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