Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stem cells know where they want to go: Pluripotent cells are not all equal

Date:
July 7, 2011
Source:
McMaster University
Summary:
A new study has shown that pluripotent cells are not all equal. The researchers discovered the fate -- or destination -- of human pluripotent stem cells is encoded by how their DNA is arranged, and this can be detected by specific proteins on the surface of the stem cells.

Human stem cells have the ability to become any cell type in the human body, but when it comes to their destination they know where they want to go.

Related Articles


This finding by McMaster University researchers sheds new light on how these regenerative cells turn into more specialized cell types, such as neural or blood cells. Until now, the thought has been that stem cells keep all their options open and have no preference when it comes to becoming more specialized.

In a paper published in the scientific journal Cell Stem Cell, Mick Bhatia, director of the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute, led a team of investigators to discover the molecular underpinnings of how human pluripotent stem cells make decisions. Pluripotency is the ability of stem cells to turn into any one of the 226 cell types that make up the human body.

The researchers discovered the fate -- or destination -- of human pluripotent stem cells is encoded by how their DNA is arranged, and this can be detected by specific proteins on the surface of the stem cells.

"It's like going on secret trip," said Bhatia, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. "When you decide to go to Jamaica, you pack your toothbrush, underwear, and of course shorts, t-shirts and swimsuits. But if, at the last minute, you get rerouted to Alaska, you unpack a few things but the basic elements, like your toothbrush, are going to be the same. You may just trade the shorts and swimsuits for long pants and a sweater."

Until now, common scientific belief has been that all pluripotent stem cells are equivalent and keep all options open at the same time. But that's really not the case, Bhatia says.

"This study showed that pluripotent cells are not all equal," he said. "They are all pluripotent. You can force a cell that normally would love to become a neural cell to turn into blood, just like you can force the vacationer to go Alaska instead of Jamaica. They'll do it, but not very well and not happily."

For the study, Bhatia and his research team found stem cells with roadmaps and specifically packed suitcases for the blood and neural destinations. The researchers discovered when they isolated these stem cells by new protein markers on the surface of cells, they were able produce a greater number of specialized cells -- nearly five times as many blood cells and twelve times as many neural cells compared to when the stem cells had to be forced into those cell types.

The results open the door to tailoring stem cells and improving their ability for tissue and organ regeneration. The researchers now plan to investigate how the process works in induced pluripotent stem cells -- the kind created from adult skin.

The research, nearly five years in the making, was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Ministry of Research and Innovation and the Canada Research Chairs program. Bhatia holds a Canada Research Chair in Human Stem Cell Biology.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Seok-Ho Hong, Shravanti Rampalli, Jung Bok Lee, Jamie McNicol, Tony Collins, Jonathan S. Draper, Mickie Bhatia. Cell Fate Potential of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells Is Encoded by Histone Modifications. Cell Stem Cell, Volume 9, Issue 1, 24-36, 8 July 201 DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2011.06.002

Cite This Page:

McMaster University. "Stem cells know where they want to go: Pluripotent cells are not all equal." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110707121924.htm>.
McMaster University. (2011, July 7). Stem cells know where they want to go: Pluripotent cells are not all equal. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110707121924.htm
McMaster University. "Stem cells know where they want to go: Pluripotent cells are not all equal." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110707121924.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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