About Careers Internship MedBlog Contact us

Key Protein Involved in Stem Cell Differentiation Identified

by Medindia Content Team on October 12, 2007 at 3:29 PM
Key Protein Involved in Stem Cell Differentiation Identified

US researchers have identified a key protein that is involved in the mechanism of differentiation by which stem cells "choose" to become either skeletal muscle cells that move limbs, or smooth muscle cells that support blood vessels.

The new discovery not only provides insight into the development of muscle types in the human foetus, but also suggests new ways to treat atherosclerosis and cancer, which involve the creation of new blood vessels from stem cell reserves that would otherwise replace worn out skeletal muscle.


Researchers at the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute of the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry and at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center say that their finding also suggests that some current cancer treatments may weaken muscle, and that doctors should begin to see whether a previously undetected side effect exists.

During the study, the researchers found that a transcription factor called myocardin—a protein designed to associate with a section of the DNA code and to turn the expression of that gene on or off—might be the master regulator of whether stem cells become skeletal or smooth muscle.

The study, published in the PNAS, is the first to show that Myocardin not only turns on genes that make smooth muscle cells, but it can also turn off genes that make skeletal muscle, making it a bifunctional, developmental switch.

"These findings could eventually lead to stem-cell based therapies where researchers take control of what the stem cell does once implanted through the action of transcription factors like myocardin, unlike current therapies that 'hope' the stem cell will take a correct differentiation path to fight disease," said Dr. Joseph M. Miano, senior author of the paper and associate professor within the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

"More specifically, many diseases are driven by whether stem cells decide to become skeletal muscle, or instead to become part of new blood vessel formation. These discoveries have created a new wing of medical research that seeks to understand the genetic signals that turn on such stem cell replacement programs," he added.

Researchers at many institutions have been studying the somite, a group of cells in the human foetus known to develop into skeletal muscle.

The research team in Southwestern did cell lineage and tracking studies, which showed them that myocardin is expressed briefly in the somite during development in mice, but then disappears from that region of the foetus.

According to them, the current data leads to the surprising theory that both skeletal and smooth muscle cells come from the same stem cell region.

Source: ANI
Font : A-A+



Recommended Readings

Latest Genetics & Stem Cells News

Gene Therapy Breaks Up New Dawn for Beta Thalassemia
Groundbreaking gene therapy for genetic beta thalassemia is now accessible as a treatment to a patient post-FDA approval.
Scientists Uncover Stem Cells in the Thymus for the First Time
Thymic stem cells actively participate in their environment by generating extracellular matrix proteins, essentially forming their own support system.
First Allogenic Stem Cell Transplant
Scientists aspire to utilize stem cell transplantation for pediatric patients grappling with blood-related conditions like aplastic anemia, and thalassemia.
Scientists Accomplish Complete Genome Sequencing of Y Chromosome
Researchers have sequenced male Y chromosomes, yielding a comprehensive blueprint of the entire human chromosome collection.
Cell Therapy for Cornea Damage Addressed by Patient's Own Stem Cells
CALEC (Cultivated autologous limbal epithelial cells) procedure for stem cell transplant in eye procedures is safe and feasible, showing improved corneal surfaces or vision.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close
Greetings! How can I assist you?MediBot

Key Protein Involved in Stem Cell Differentiation Identified Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests