The black box of pluripotency

What keeps stem cells pluripotent? In the past six months researchers have linkurl:reprogrammed;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53873/ human progenitor skin cells and linkurl:fully-differentiated;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54562/ Beta cells back into a pluripotent state. Despite these advances, little is known so far about how pluripotency is regulated. To find out, researchers have set their sights on a group of mammalian regulator genes known as the Polycomb Complex, t

Andrea Gawrylewski
Apr 23, 2008
What keeps stem cells pluripotent? In the past six months researchers have linkurl:reprogrammed;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53873/ human progenitor skin cells and linkurl:fully-differentiated;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54562/ Beta cells back into a pluripotent state. Despite these advances, little is known so far about how pluripotency is regulated. To find out, researchers have set their sights on a group of mammalian regulator genes known as the Polycomb Complex, the uncharted territory of stem cell biology. This is the missing piece that will give researchers more control over their cell populations in developing stem cell-based linkurl:therapies.;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54544/ In all cases of reprogramming, researchers treat cells with a cocktail of transcription factors that induce the cells back into a pluripotent state. These transcription factors make up a large subset of genes that are part of the Polycomb Complex. The Polycomb as a whole somehow "puts the brake on developmental regulators and at same time accelerates activity of genes important for self-renewal," linkurl:Konrad...

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