Navigation Links
Learning from the linker

Mature cells can be reprogrammed to pluripotency and thus regain the ability to divide and differentiate into specialized cell types. Although these so-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) represent a milestone in stem cell research, many of the biochemical processes that underlie reprogramming are still not understood. Scientists from the EMBL Hamburg and from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Mnster, Germany now shed new light on this process. In a study published today in Nature Cell Biology, the scientists describe important details about the structure of the transcription factor Oct4, known to play a crucial role in the reprogramming of terminally differentiated cells. The study broadens the knowledge about the reprogramming of cells and may pave the way for medical applications in the field of regenerative medicine and drug discovery.

The transcription factor Oct4 is a protein that binds to DNA and controls the genes involved in reprogramming the cells. The team at EMBL Hamburg has now been able to resolve the crystal structure of Oct4 using high-intensity X-ray beams. In particular, their analysis focused on a previously unexplored linker sequence between two DNA binding elements of the protein. "The uniqueness of the linker has caught our attention for more than a decade and, thus, we are extremely pleased to see it for the first time, helping us rationalize its function in reprogramming cells to pluripotency" says Matthias Wilmanns who led the work in Hamburg.

The authors suggest that the linker recruits key partners to the Oct4 target genes, without whom the process of reprogramming cannot be completed. Colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine led by Hans Schler supported these findings with studies on the modifications of the linker. They showed that changes in the sequence of the linker led to the loss of Oct4's reprogramming activity, and that a single residue mutation has major effects on the protein interface and thus affects the recruiting of key partners.

"Our work shows how unique the Oct4 interface is and how crucial it is for reprogramming to pluripotency. These are vital steps forward in our understanding of cell reprogramming and could lead us to new applications in the fields of drug discovery and tissue engineering" said Hans Schler. Ongoing research will help determine an integrated picture on how Oct4 acts in the context of many other protein components in stem cell pluripotency.


Contact: Isabelle Kling
European Molecular Biology Laboratory

Related biology news :

1. Majority-biased learning
2. Awake mental replay of past experiences critical for learning
3. Dartmouth researchers are learning how exercise affects the brain
4. Songbirds learning hub in brain offers insight into motor control
5. New Genetics educational resource promotes active learning
6. New model gives hands-on help for learning the secrets of molecules
7. Learning faster with neurodegenerative disease
8. Learning from each other -- growing together
9. Sleep-deprived bees have difficulty relearning
10. Learning a new sense
11. Learning whos the top dog: Study reveals how the brain stores information about social rank
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/27/2015)... YORK , Oct. 27, 2015 In ... major issues of concern for various industry verticals such ... is due to the growing demand for secure & ... in various ,sectors, such as hacking of bank accounts, ... for electronic equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... LAS VEGAS , Oct. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... innovator in modern authentication and a founding member of ... of its latest version of the Nok Nok™ S3 ... use standards-based authentication that supports existing and emerging methods ... is ideal for organizations deploying customer-facing applications that require ...
(Date:10/22/2015)... 2015  Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE ), a leading supplier ... third quarter ended September 30, 2015.  --> ... was $4.0 million, a decrease of 33% compared to $6.0 million ... quarter of 2015 was $2.2 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, ... the same period a year ago.  --> ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OPBAP) has been formalized with the signing of ... team leaders met with OPBAP leaders Capt. Karl Minter and Capt. Albert Glenn ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) ... USGA Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes ... with turfgrass. , Clarke, of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Florida (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... biggest event of the year and one of the premier annual events for ... and ran from 8–11 November 2015, where ISPE hosted the largest number of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), led by its ... as Multirotor Grand Prix, to represent the First–Person View (FPV) racing community. , FPV ... embraced this type of racing and several new model aviation pilots have joined the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: