Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

MicroRNA cocktail helps turn skin cells into stem cells

Date:
February 2, 2011
Source:
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
Summary:
A new technique removes several hurdles in generating induced pluripotent stem cells, smoothing the way for disease research and drug development.

Stem cells are ideal tools to understand disease and develop new treatments; however, they can be difficult to obtain in necessary quantities. In particular, generating induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells can be an arduous task because reprogramming differentiated adult skin cells into iPS cells requires many steps and the efficiency is very low -- researchers might end up with only a few iPS cells even if they started with a million skin cells.

A team at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) set out to improve this process. In a paper published February 1 in The EMBO Journal, the team identified several specific microRNAs (miRNAs) that are important during reprogramming and exploited them to make the transition from skin cell to iPS cell more efficient.

"We identified several molecular barriers early in the reprogramming process and figured out how to remove them using miRNA," said Tariq Rana, Ph.D., director of the RNA Biology program at Sanford-Burnham and senior author of the study. "This is significant because it will enhance our ability to use iPS cells to model diseases in the laboratory and search for new therapies."

"Our study not only presents new mechanistic insights about the role of non-coding RNAs during somatic cell reprogramming but also provides proof of principle using microRNAs as great enhancers for iPS cell generation," added Zhonghan Li, graduate student and first author of the study.

MiRNAs are small strands of genetic material that may play a major role in many diseases by gumming up protein production. In this study, Dr. Rana and his colleagues observed that three groups of miRNAs, including two known individually as miR-93 and miR-106b, are activated as part of a defense mechanism that occurs when cells are stressed by the standard skin cell reprogramming process. Digging deeper, they determined that miR-93 and miR-106b target two proteins called Tgfbr2 and p21, which slow up the path to iPS cells by halting the cell cycle -- the cell's process of duplicating its DNA and dividing into two identical "daughter" cells -- and promoting cell death.

Not only does this finding reveal more about the genetic underpinnings of iPS cell formation, but the researchers took advantage of this new information to speed up the process. When they added extra miR-93 and miR-106b to skin cells, Tgfbr2 and p21 were blocked, more cells survived, and iPS cells were more readily obtained.

"In some respects, this work may be regarded as a landmark contribution to the field of stem cell biology in general and cellular reprogramming in particular," said Evan Y. Snyder, M.D., Ph.D., director of Sanford-Burnham's Stem Cells and Regenerative Biology program. "Up until now, cellular differentiation and de-differentiation has focused principally on the expression of genes; this work indicates that the strategic non-expression of genes may be equally important. The work has demonstrated that miRNAs do function in the reprogramming process and that the generation of iPSCs can be greatly enhanced by modulating miRNA action. In addition to helping us generate better tools for the stem cell field, such findings inevitably facilitate our understanding of normal and abnormal stem cell behavior during development and in disease states."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Zhonghan Li, Chao-Shun Yang, Katsuhiko Nakashima, Tariq M Rana. Small RNA-mediated regulation of iPS cell generation. The EMBO Journal, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/emboj.2011.2

Cite This Page:

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. "MicroRNA cocktail helps turn skin cells into stem cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110202071851.htm>.
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. (2011, February 2). MicroRNA cocktail helps turn skin cells into stem cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110202071851.htm
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. "MicroRNA cocktail helps turn skin cells into stem cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110202071851.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
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