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:5/24/2016)... May 24, 2016 Ampronix facilitates superior patient care by providing unparalleled technology ... LCD display is the latest premium product recently added to the range of products ... ... ... 3d Imaging- LCD Medical Display- Ampronix News ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of ... MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a ... projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex biometric ... combination of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It ... and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... , UAE, April 20, 2016 ... be implemented as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution ... the biometric fingerprint reader or the door interface with ... of modern access control systems. The minimal dimensions of ... ID readers into the building installations offer considerable freedom ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)...  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that ... living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at ... New York City . The teams, ... at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. ... curator of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking ... Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. ... Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to ... medical community, has closed its Series A funding round, ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis ... need to meet our current goals," stated Matthew ... runway to complete validation on the current projects in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... the Pennsylvania Convention Center and will showcase its product’s latest features from June ... be presenting a scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during ...
Breaking Biology Technology: