Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Hematopoietic Stem Cell Development Is Regulated

Date:
October 6, 2009
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
During cell division, whether hematopoietic stem cells will develop into new stem cells or differentiate into other blood cells depends on a chemical process called DNA methylation. Researchers showed that DNA methylation also plays a crucial role for cancer stem cells.

During cell division, whether hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) will develop into new stem cells (self-renewal) or differentiate into other blood cells depends on a chemical process called DNA methylation. These were the findings of researchers at the laboratory of Dr. Frank Rosenbauer of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch in cooperation with the laboratory of Professor Sten Eirik W. Jacobsen (Lund University, Sweden and the University of Oxford, England). Furthermore, the researchers showed that DNA methylation also plays a crucial role for cancer stem cells.

A group of three enzymes, the DNA methyltransferases (Dnmt) regulates the addition of methyl groups to the DNA (DNA methylation). One of these enzymes – Dnmt1 – is responsible for the maintenance of the marks with the methyl groups, the DNA methylation pattern, because the distribution of the methyl groups on the DNA decides which genes are transcribed and which are blocked. Researchers speak in this context of epigenetic information, in contrast to genetic information.

However, it was unclear until now whether DNA methylation plays a special role in the control of hematopoietic stem cell characteristics. From the HSCs all of the blood cells of the body are formed. Since blood cells have only a limited lifetime, the body must form new blood cells over and over again. The pool for this is generated by the HSCs.

In order to discover what function DNA methylation has for HSCs, the two doctoral students Ann-Marie Bröske and Lena Vockentanz of the MDC research laboratory of Dr. Rosenbauer switched off the enzyme Dnmt1 in the mice. As a result, the animals were not viable because the hematopoietic stem cell function was completely disturbed.

By contrast, when the two researchers arranged that the HSCs formed just a little Dnmt1, the animals survived, but the HSCs lost their potential for self-renewal. Moreover, the HSCs were restricted in their formation of B cells and T cells (blood cells of the lymphatic system and important cells of the immune system).

However, the HSCs were able to form red blood cells, which are important for oxygen transport and belong to the blood cells of the myeloerythroid system. In other words, the DNA methylation level regulates which blood cell lineages develop or not from a hematopoietic stem cell.

Cancer stem cells

Methylation processes also play a role in numerous cancer diseases. As the MDC researchers were able to show, the DNA methylation by the enzyme Dnmt1 also controls the development of leukemic stem cells.

If the DNA methylation level is low, cancer stem cell renewal is restricted. Moreover, the formation of leukemic cells of B-cell lineage (acute B-cell leukemia – ALL) is blocked.

The question is whether diseased stem cells can be switched off, possibly through a blockade of the enzyme Dnmt1. Dr. Rosenbauer and his research team want to make a more detailed investigation of this question in a further project.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ann-Marie Bröske et al. DNA methylation protects hematopoietic stem cell multipotency from myeloerythroid restriction. Nature Genetics, DOI: 10.1038/ng.463

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "How Hematopoietic Stem Cell Development Is Regulated." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091006102635.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2009, October 6). How Hematopoietic Stem Cell Development Is Regulated. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091006102635.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "How Hematopoietic Stem Cell Development Is Regulated." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091006102635.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) — More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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