Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Expression of pluripotency-associated gene marks many types of adult stem cells

Date:
October 7, 2011
Source:
Massachusetts General Hospital
Summary:
Investigators have found that Sox2 -- one of the transcription factors used in the conversion of adult stem cells into induced pluripotent stem cells -- is expressed in many adult tissues where it had not been previously observed and that Sox2-expressing cells in those tissues are true adult stem cells that can give rise to all mature cell types in those tissues.

Investigators at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Center for Regenerative Medicine and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) have found that Sox2 -- one of the transcription factors used in the conversion of adult stem cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) -- is expressed in many adult tissues where it had not been previously observed. They also confirmed that Sox2-expressing cells found in the stomach, testes, cervix and other structures are true adult stem cells that can give rise to all mature cell types in those tissues.

Related Articles


The study appears in the October issue of Cell Stem Cell.

"We have known that Sox2 is essential for maintaining pluripotency in embryonic stem cells and neural stem cells and, with three other embryonic genes, is sufficient to convert adult cells into iPSCs," says Konrad Hochedlinger, PhD, of the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine and HSCI, who led the study. "Our study shows that Sox2 is a much more widespread marker of adult stem cells and suggests these cells may share common genetic programs to maintain stem cell fate, findings that could be exploited to amplify or modify these cells for applications in regenerative medicine."

Hochedlinger's team set out to investigate whether genes known to be important to pluripotent stem cells -- cells that can give rise to several different types of tissue -- also play a role in adult stem cells, which maintain populations of particular types of tissue. Sox2 is one of four embryonic genes that are required to be expressed for the generation of iPSCs -- which have many of the characteristics of embryonic stem cells -- but the other three genes are not expressed in adult stem cells. Sox2 is known to be expressed at the very earliest stages of embryonic development and to play a role in development of several types of fetal tissue. But prior to this study, its expression had been observed in only a few types of adult tissues.

In a series of experiments with mice, the researchers first showed that Sox2 continues to be expressed in specific populations of adult cells of the stomach, esophagus, testes, cervix, anus and the lens of the eye. These Sox2-expressing cells were proven to be able both to replenish their population and to give rise to the fully differentiated cells found within the particular tissue, confirming their status as adult stem cells.

Additional findings revealed that fetal tissues expressing Sox2, which are at a stage before the appearance of true stem cells, will develop into tissues that include Sox2-expressing adult stem cells and that Sox2 appears to be the only transcription factor expressed in stem cells at all stages of development -- embryonic, fetal and adult. However, Sox2 expression has never been found in muscle or connective tissue, blood cells, or in organs such as the heart or kidney, indicating that other factors must play a similar role in those tissues.

"Adult stem cells are difficult to isolate and manipulate, so the fact that Sox2 appears to be a marker for many adult stem cells may allow researchers to isolate them more easily and study them in more detail," Hochedlinger explains. "Manipulation of Sox2 expression could help us push embryonic stem cells into particular types of adult stem cells and, when combined with certain growth factors, induce differentiation into desired types of tissue. All of these possibilities need to be investigated." Hochedlinger is an associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist.

Additional authors of the Cell Stem Cell paper are lead author Katrin Arnold, PhD, Abby Sarkar, Mary Anna Yram, Jose Polo, PhD, and Neils Geijsen, PhD, all of the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute; Rod Bronson, DVM, Harvard Medical School; and Sumitra Sengupta and Marco Seandel, MD, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College. The study was supported by the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, a National Institute of Health Director's New Innovator Award, and the Kimmel and V Foundations for Cancer Research.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Katrin Arnold, Abby Sarkar, Mary Anna Yram, Jose M. Polo, Rod Bronson, Sumitra Sengupta, Marco Seandel, Niels Geijsen, Konrad Hochedlinger. Sox2 Adult Stem and Progenitor Cells Are Important for Tissue Regeneration and Survival of Mice. Cell Stem Cell, October, 2011 DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2011.09.001

Cite This Page:

Massachusetts General Hospital. "Expression of pluripotency-associated gene marks many types of adult stem cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111006125416.htm>.
Massachusetts General Hospital. (2011, October 7). Expression of pluripotency-associated gene marks many types of adult stem cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111006125416.htm
Massachusetts General Hospital. "Expression of pluripotency-associated gene marks many types of adult stem cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111006125416.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. 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:

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