Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Functional motor neuron subtypes generated from embryonic stem cells

Date:
September 4, 2010
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Scientists have devised a method for coaxing mouse embryonic stem cells into forming a highly specific motor neuron subtype. The research provides new insight into motor neuron differentiation and may prove useful for devising and testing future therapies for motor neuron diseases.

Scientists have devised a method for coaxing mouse embryonic stem cells into forming a highly specific motor neuron subtype. The research, published by Cell Press in the September 3rd issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell, provides new insight into motor neuron differentiation and may prove useful for devising and testing future therapies for motor neuron diseases.

Related Articles


Motor neurons in the spinal cord communicate with other neurons in the central nervous system and send long projections out to muscles, transmitting signals that are essential for proper control of movement and posture. Like other neuron classes, motor neurons are known to exhibit tremendous diversity. "The existence of dozens of muscle groups in the limbs of most mammals demands an equivalent diversity of motor neuron pool subtypes," explains the senior study author, Dr. Hynek Wichterle from Columbia University in New York.

During normal development, motor neurons settle into specific sections of the spinal cord (called columns), which correspond to the muscles that they will innervate. For example, cells in one area link up with muscles in the limbs, while cells residing in another region innervate muscles in the body wall. Although previous studies have shown that mouse and human embryonic stem cells can be converted into motor neurons, it was not clear whether these were "generic" neurons or whether they could acquire characteristics of the specific specialized subtypes.

In the current study, lead author Dr. Peljto and colleagues showed that removing a key differentiation factor allowed cultured embryonic stem cells to form motor neurons with molecular characteristics corresponding to a limb innervating subtype, without the need for genetic manipulation or added factors. Importantly, when this stem cell-derived subtype was transplanted into embryonic chick spinal cords, the motor neurons settled in the expected columnar position within the cord and had projections that mimicked the trajectory of limb innervating motor neurons.

Although encouraging from a regenerative medicine perspective, the authors caution that due to differences in limb and wing musculature, their mouse-to-chick transplantation paradigm makes it impossible to determine whether motor neurons generated in the lab exhibit subtype specific connectivity with limb muscles. However, this method for reliably generating defined motor neuron subtypes may prove to be invaluable for future disease modeling studies.

"Motor neuron subtypes exhibit differential susceptibility to neurodegeneration in two prominent motor neuron diseases, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)," says Dr. Wichterle. "The ability to drive the differentiation of embryonic stem cells into disease-sensitive and -resistant motor neuron subtypes could help to uncover new therapeutic strategies."

The researchers include Mirza Peljto, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY; Jeremy S. Dasen, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY; Esteban O. Mazzoni, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY; Thomas M. Jessell, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and Hynek Wichterle, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mirza Peljto, Jeremy S. Dasen, Esteban O. Mazzoni, Thomas M. Jessell, Hynek Wichterle. Functional Diversity of ESC-Derived Motor Neuron Subtypes Revealed through Intraspinal Transplantation. Cell Stem Cell, 2010; 7 (3): 355-366 DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2010.07.013

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Functional motor neuron subtypes generated from embryonic stem cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100902121041.htm>.
Cell Press. (2010, September 4). Functional motor neuron subtypes generated from embryonic stem cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100902121041.htm
Cell Press. "Functional motor neuron subtypes generated from embryonic stem cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100902121041.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

Oxfam Calls for Massive Aid for Ebola-Hit West Africa

AFP (Jan. 29, 2015) Oxfam International has called for a multi-million dollar post-Ebola "Marshall Plan", with financial support given by wealthy countries, to help Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia to recover. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Are We Winning The Fight Against Ebola?

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The World Health Organization announced the fight against Ebola has entered its second phase as the number of cases per week has steadily dropped. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Health Officials Campaign Against E-Cigarettes

Calif. Health Officials Campaign Against E-Cigarettes

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) The California Health Department says e-cigarettes are a public health risk for both smokers and those who inhale e-cig smoke secondhand. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

Measles Scare Sends 66 Calif. Students Home

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) Officials say 66 students at a Southern California high school have been told to stay home through the end of next week because they may have been exposed to measles and are not vaccinated. (Jan. 29) 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