Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New light shed on reprogramming mature cells to pluripotency, to divide and differentiate into specialized cell types

Date:
February 6, 2013
Source:
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
Summary:
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) represent a milestone in stem cell research, however many of the biochemical processes that underlie reprogramming are still not understood. Scientists now shed new light on this process. They have described important details about the structure of the transcription factor Oct4, known to play a crucial role in the reprogramming of terminally differentiated cells.

Mature cells can be reprogrammed to pluripotency and thus regain the ability to divide and differentiate into specialized cell types. Although these so-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) represent a milestone in stem cell research, many of the biochemical processes that underlie reprogramming are still not understood. Scientists from the EMBL Hamburg and from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster, Germany now shed new light on this process.

In a study published February 6 in Nature Cell Biology, the scientists describe important details about the structure of the transcription factor Oct4, known to play a crucial role in the reprogramming of terminally differentiated cells. The study broadens the knowledge about the reprogramming of cells and may pave the way for medical applications in the field of regenerative medicine and drug discovery.

The transcription factor Oct4 is a protein that binds to DNA and controls the genes involved in reprogramming the cells. The team at EMBL Hamburg has now been able to resolve the crystal structure of Oct4 using high-intensity X-ray beams. In particular, their analysis focused on a previously unexplored linker sequence between two DNA binding elements of the protein. "The uniqueness of the linker has caught our attention for more than a decade and, thus, we are extremely pleased to see it for the first time, helping us rationalize its function in reprogramming cells to pluripotency" says Matthias Wilmanns who led the work in Hamburg.

The authors suggest that the linker recruits key partners to the Oct4 target genes, without whom the process of reprogramming cannot be completed. Colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine led by Hans Schöler supported these findings with studies on the modifications of the linker. They showed that changes in the sequence of the linker led to the loss of Oct4's reprogramming activity, and that a single residue mutation has major effects on the protein interface and thus affects the recruiting of key partners.

"Our work shows how unique the Oct4 interface is and how crucial it is for reprogramming to pluripotency. These are vital steps forward in our understanding of cell reprogramming and could lead us to new applications in the fields of drug discovery and tissue engineering" said Hans Schöler.

Ongoing research will help determine an integrated picture on how Oct4 acts in the context of many other protein components in stem cell pluripotency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Daniel Esch, Juha Vahokoski, Matthew R. Groves, Vivian Pogenberg, Vlad Cojocaru, Hermann vom Bruch, Dong Han, Hannes C. A. Drexler, Marcos J. Araúzo-Bravo, Calista K. L. Ng, Ralf Jauch, Matthias Wilmanns, Hans R. Schöler. A unique Oct4 interface is crucial for reprogramming to pluripotency. Nature Cell Biology, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/ncb2680

Cite This Page:

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "New light shed on reprogramming mature cells to pluripotency, to divide and differentiate into specialized cell types." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130206093814.htm>.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). (2013, February 6). New light shed on reprogramming mature cells to pluripotency, to divide and differentiate into specialized cell types. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130206093814.htm
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "New light shed on reprogramming mature cells to pluripotency, to divide and differentiate into specialized cell types." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130206093814.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. 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