Changing somatic cell function

Functional reprogramming of somatic cells can be achieved using a nuclear and cytoplasmic extract derived from another somatic cell type.

Tudor Toma(

Nuclear reprogramming occurs during cloning, stem cell differentiation and cancer development, but the molecular mechanisms involved in this process remain unclear. In May Nature Biotechnology, Anne-Mari Häkelien and colleagues from University of Oslo, Norway, show that the functional reprogramming of a somatic cell can be achieved using a nuclear and cytoplasmic extract derived from a different somatic cell type.

Häkelien et al. used an in vitro system based on the incubation of nuclei or cells in a somatic cell extract. They observed that exposure of human fibroblasts to extracts from T cells and from lymphoblastic leukemia Jurkat-Tag cells activate several T cell-specific genes and functions, including CD3, CD4, TCRαβ chanins and IL-2 receptor synthesis. In addition, following exposure to a neuronal precursor extract, the fibroblasts expressed a neurofilament protein and extended neurite-like outgrowths.

These results "may allow identification of molecules central to biological processes as diverse as...

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