Cellular alchemy caught in action

February 8, 2013 by Bill Hathaway

One of the most critical biological advances in the past decade was the discovery that the introduction of four simple genetic factors can turn a fully mature adult cell back into an embryonic-like state, a process called reprogramming.

Now, Yale School of Medicine researchers have created a video that shows in great detail how this takes place. The Yale team introduced these into a blood cell and watched as it formed a colony of , which are capable of becoming many different types of cells.

The reprogramming process holds the promise of creating cell-based therapy for a host of serious diseases. However it has been a mystery how and when an individual cell decides to make this drastic change.

"These movies show that the process is more complicated than we thought. Now that we can see how it happens, we have an opportunity to getting to know the cells better, and control their behaviors better," said Shangqin Guo, research scientist at the Yale Stem Cell Center and lead author of the study, published in the journal .

Explore further: Major step forward in understanding cell reprogramming

More information: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/stem.1323/suppinfo

Related Stories

Major step forward in understanding cell reprogramming

February 14, 2008

Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Researchers have taken a major step toward eventually being able to reprogram adult cells to an embryonic stem cell-like state without the use of ...

Rethinking reprogramming: A new way to make stem cells

April 7, 2011

A paper published by Cell Press in the April 8th issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell reveals a new and more efficient method for reprogramming adult mouse and human cells into an embryonic stem cell-like state and could lead ...

Not all cellular reprogramming is created equal

December 1, 2011

Tweaking the levels of factors used during the reprogramming of adult cells into induced pluriopotent stem (iPS) cells greatly affects the quality of the resulting iPS cells, according to Whitehead Institute researchers.

Recommended for you

A better way to read the genome

October 9, 2015

UConn researchers have sequenced the RNA of the most complicated gene known in nature, using a hand-held sequencer no bigger than a cell phone.

Threat posed by 'pollen thief' bees uncovered

October 9, 2015

A new University of Stirling study has uncovered the secrets of 'pollen thief' bees - which take pollen from flowers but fail to act as effective pollinators - and the threat they pose to certain plant species.

Mapping the protein universe

October 9, 2015

To understand how life works, figure out the proteins first. DNA is the architect of life, but proteins are the workhorses. After proteins are built using DNA blueprints, they are constantly at work breaking down and building ...


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.