October 27, 2012

Solving Stem Cell Mysteries

Baltimore, MD— The ability of embryonic stem cells to differentiate into different types of cells with different functions is regulated and maintained by a complex series of chemical interactions, which are not well understood. Learning more about this process could prove useful for stem cell-based therapies down the road. New research from a team led by Carnegie’s Yixian Zheng zeroes in on the process by which stem cells maintain their proper undifferentiated state. Their results are published in Cell October 26.

Embryonic stem cells go through a process called self-renewal, wherein they undergo multiple cycles of division while not differentiating into any other type of cells. This process is dependent on three protein networks, which guide both self-renewal and eventual differentiation. But the integration of these three networks has remained a mystery.

journal reference (summary free): Cell  >>