Magic embryology: differentiation control (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Monday, February 21, 2022, 20:38 (128 days ago) @ David Turell

A control is found:

"Embryonic stem cells and other pluripotent cells divide rapidly and have the capacity to become nearly any cell type in the body. Scientists have long sought to understand the signals that prompt stem cells to switch off pluripotency and adopt their final functional state.

"In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers report that they have identified a key regulator of this process. They discovered that a molecule known as BEND3 shuts down expression of hundreds of genes associated with differentiation, maintaining the cell's stem cell-like status. Only when BEND3 is downregulated can cells adopt their final form and function. Once they differentiate, they usually stop actively proliferating.


"Prasanth's laboratory focuses on cell cycle regulators. Her early studies identified BEND3 as a potentially important player in the system. Her team found that when BEND3 bound to strategic locales along the chromosome, it reduced or blocked the expression of dozens of genes. When BEND3 was removed, gene expression rebounded.

"'When you do these gene-expression studies, you can see hundreds of genes go up, hundreds down," Prasanth said. "But what does it really mean?"


"'The binding of BEND3 to these genes blocks their expression, preventing the cells from entering a differentiated state," Supriya Prasanth said. "And the moment you remove that control, the cells are now moving toward the differentiation pathway."

"BEND3 is not the only regulator of the cell-differentiation pathway; it binds to and interacts with many other molecular regulators of this process, Supriya Prasanth said. But its presence or absence appears critical to determining a cell's fate, making it an attractive target for potential medical interventions when the process goes awry.

"In an accompanying paper published in the journal Genes and Development, the Supriya Prasanth lab and collaborators at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center provided structural insights into BEND3-mediated gene regulation.

"The paper is titled "BEND3 safeguards pluripotency by repressing differentiation-associated genes.'"

Comment: developing an embryo must result in an identical reproduction. Obviously tight controls care necessary. Only a carefully designed system will do this.

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