Apakah yang terpikirkan dibenakmu jika istrimu adalah seorang ahli gizi? Terlebih seorang ahli gizi lulusan Jerman? Tak pernah juga terpikirkan olehku bisa mengenyam pendidikan di negara ini, bahkan hingga bertahun-tahun lamanya tinggal di negara ini, negara dengan kultur dan pola makanan yang…
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A scanning electron micrograph of undifferentiated human embryonic stem cells growing in culture with fibroblasts. The fibroblasts have been treated so they don’t divide, but are present to provide factors that help maintain stem cells in their undifferentiated state. Image courtesy of Annie Cavanagh, Wellcome Images.
Keeping Stem Cells Pluripotent
By blocking key signal, researchers maintain embryonic stem cells in vital, undifferentiated state
While the ability of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to become any type of mature cell, from neuron to heart to skin and bone, is indisputably crucial to human development, no less important is the mechanism needed to maintain hESCs in their pluripotent state until such change is required.
In a paper published in this week’s Online Early Edition of PNAS, researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine identify a key gene receptor and signaling pathway essential to doing just that – maintaining hESCs in an undifferentiated state.
The finding sheds new light upon the fundamental biology of hESCs – with their huge potential as a diverse therapeutic tool – but also suggests a new target for attacking cancer stem cells, which likely rely upon the same receptor and pathway to help spur their rampant, unwanted growth.
The research, led by principal investigator Karl Willert, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, focuses upon the role of the highly conserved WNT signaling pathway, a large family of genes long recognized as a critical regulator of stem cell self-renewal, and a particular encoded receptor known as frizzled family receptor 7 or FZD7.
“WNT signaling through FZD7 is necessary to maintain hESCs in an undifferentiated state,” said Willert. “If we block FZD7 function, thus interfering with the WNT pathway, hESCs exit their undifferentiated and pluripotent state.”