Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC
GLOBETECH MEDIA

DNA Methylation Generates Differential Gene Expression in Sister Stem Cells

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 14 Oct 2013
Image: A DNA molecule that is methylated on both strands on the center cytosine. DNA methylation plays an important role for epigenetic gene regulation in development and cancer (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).
Image: A DNA molecule that is methylated on both strands on the center cytosine. DNA methylation plays an important role for epigenetic gene regulation in development and cancer (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).
DNA methylation was shown to be primarily responsible for differences in gene expression displayed by "sister" stem cells.

Despite having identical DNA, sister embryonic stem cells (ESCs) can display considerable differences in their molecular characteristics. How stem cells regulate expression of their genes is crucial to many fundamental biological processes, such as embryonic development, regeneration, and turnover of blood, skin, and other tissues in the body, but especially to cancer.

In a study published in the September 26, 2013, online edition of the journal Stem Cell Reports investigators at the Institute of Cancer Research (London, United Kingdom) used a novel microdissection technique to examine differences in expression of 48 key genes between sister stem cells.

Their system, which was based on single cell RNA analysis, revealed considerable diversities between sister ESCs at both pluripotent and differentiated states. When the stem cells were grown in the presence inhibitors that induced the cells to revert to their most primitive stem cell state, gene expression between sister cells was significantly more similar.

DNA methyltransferases were downregulated in the inhibited ESCs, and the loss of these enzymes was sufficient to generate nearly identical sister cells. These results suggest that DNA methylation was a major cause of the diversity between sister cells at the pluripotent states. DNA methylation stably alters the expression of genes in cells as they divide and differentiate from embryonic stem cells into specific tissues. The resulting change is normally permanent and unidirectional, preventing a differentiated cell from reverting back to a stem cell or converting into another type of tissue.

Senior author Dr. Tomoyuki Sawado, leader of the stem cells and chromatin team at The Institute of Cancer Research, said, "Embryonic stem cell division is generally believed to be a symmetrical process, but what we found was that sister cells are actually often quite different from one another. We used a new technique to separate paired stem cells combined with assays that measure RNA in individual cells. Our research showed that sister stem cells display considerable differences in which genes are expressed. These differences are advantageous for normal stem cells in their constantly changing environment, and in cancer cells, the same characteristics can enable them to evade treatments. If we can control a process like DNA methylation that creates diversity in cell populations, we could create more efficient treatments for cancer."

Related Links:

The Institute of Cancer Research



Channels

Drug Discovery

view channel

Curcumin Used to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

Curcumin, a natural substance found in the spice turmeric, has been used by many Asian cultures for centuries. Now, new research suggests that a close chemical analog of curcumin has properties that may make it useful as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. “Curcumin has demonstrated ability to enter the brain, bind... Read more

Biochemistry

view channel

Blocking Enzyme Switch Turns Off Tumor Growth in T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Researchers recently reported that blocking the action of an enzyme “switch” needed to activate tumor growth is emerging as a practical strategy for treating T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. An estimated 25% of the 500 US adolescents and young adults diagnosed yearly with this aggressive disease fail to respond to... Read more

Therapeutics

view channel
Image: Cancer cells infected with tumor-targeted oncolytic virus (red). Green indicates alpha-tubulin, a cell skeleton protein. Blue is DNA in the cancer cell nuclei (Photo courtesy of Dr. Rathi Gangeswaran, Bart’s Cancer Institute).

Innovative “Viro-Immunotherapy” Designed to Kill Breast Cancer Cells

A leading scientist has devised a new treatment that employs viruses to kill breast cancer cells. The research could lead to a promising “viro-immunotherapy” for patients with triple-negative breast cancer,... Read more

Lab Technologies

view channel
Image: MIT researchers have designed a microfluidic device that allows them to precisely trap pairs of cells (one red, one green) and observe how they interact over time (Photo courtesy of Burak Dura, MIT).

New Device Designed to See Communication between Immune Cells

The immune system is a complicated network of many different cells working together to defend against invaders. Effectively combating an infection depends on the interactions between these cells.... Read more

Business

view channel

Program Designed to Provide High-Performance Computing Cluster Systems for Bioinformatics Research

Dedicated Computing (Waukesha, WI, USA), a global technology company, reported that it will be participating in the Intel Cluster Ready program to deliver integrated high-performance computing cluster solutions to the life sciences market. Powered by Intel Xeon processors, Dedicated Computing is providing a range of... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2015 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.