The path from stem cell to maturity

Jul 16, 2012
The path from stem cell to maturity
Credit: Thinkstock

Regulation of gene expression is essential to make sure cell maturation occurs as it should. European research is taking an integrated perspective on how selected steps in liver and blood cell differentiation can be modulated.

Gene regulation mechanisms are active at every level of development, from the passage of stem cell through to differentiated cell. On from there to maintenance of identity of the mature, functioning cell, regulation is maintained through mechanisms.

The "Integrated approaches to study gene regulation during " (Integer) project is aiming to investigate all levels of gene regulation with a multidisciplinary and integrated approach to research. Specifically, during cell differentiation study, regulation of trans-acting factors and genetic material has come under the microscope.

Protocols established by Integer include 4C or 3C ChIP sequencing and RNA-binding protein immunoprecipitation (RIP) sequencing. For visualising intra-nuclear associations, cryo-FISH imaging techniques were used. Appropriate cell lines were established for the planned genomic work and, to analyse the sequencing data, software tools were refined and optimised.

The main achievement of the Integer project to date is the characterisation of binding patterns in differentiating liver and . Several novel genes were identified that are regulated by these factors. Included are a Dnmt3a1 that acts primarily as a negative but also a positive transcription regulator in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells. Three-dimensional (3D) folding of both the active and inactive X-chromosome in ES cells was also analysed.

Training and dissemination are also at the top of the agenda in the Integer project. To date, Integer has held two highly successful workshops on chromatin proteomics and genomics in parallel with workshops on project management and bioethics.

The Integer project is expected to elucidate many mechanisms in transcription during of chromosome and nuclear 3D structure. Relevant epigenetic changes, an important source of modification for genetic material such as methylation and sumoylation, are also being studied.

The wide academic and training network of the Integer project promises to provide answers to the secrets of genetic regulation of development for the benefit of healthcare. With an equal stress on interdisciplinary training of early stage researchers, Europe will remain at the cutting edge of biomedical research initiatives.

Explore further: Two-armed control of ATR, a master regulator of the DNA damage checkpoint

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cell transformation a la carte

Oct 03, 2011

Researchers from the Haematopoietic Differentiation and Stem Cell Biology group at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), have described one of the mechanisms by which a cell (from the skin, for example) ...

Recommended for you

Japanese scientist resigns over stem cell scandal

Dec 19, 2014

A researcher embroiled in a fabrication scandal that has rocked Japan's scientific establishment said Friday she would resign after failing to reproduce results of what was once billed as a ground-breaking study on ...

'Hairclip' protein mechanism explained

Dec 18, 2014

Research led by the Teichmann group on the Wellcome Genome Campus has identified a fundamental mechanism for controlling protein function. Published in the journal Science, the discovery has wide-ranging implications for bi ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.