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Singapore scientists discover new RNA processing pathway important in human embryonic stem cells
Date:9/9/2013

he study, led by GIS Executive Director Prof Ng Huck Hui, establishes an initial connection between splicing and pluripotency in hESCs and contributes to the comprehensive understanding of the nature of hESCs. Besides its role in hESCs, SON was previously found to be involved in the development of leukemia and influenza virus infection.

Prof Ng Huck Hui said, "Maintenance and differentiation of human embryonic stem cells are governed by an intricate network that comprises diverse cellular processes. In the past, we had been focusing primarily on transcriptional regulation. In our new study, it is clear that splicing contributes to the unique cellular state of hESCs and this can be explained in part through the function of a protein known as SON. SON regulates the precise splicing of specific transcripts which are important for pluripotency. A systematic dissection of the different pathways required for maintenance of pluripotency can eventually guide us in engineering novel cellular states in the laboratory."

"In this new manuscript in Nature Cell Biology, Ng Huck Hui and his colleagues continue to cement their position at the forefront of pluripotency research worldwide," said Dr Alan Colman, the former Executive Director of the Singapore Stem Cell Consortium. "The distinctive feature of human embryonic stem cells is their ability to either self renew or alternatively, given the right conditions, to differentiate into all the cell types that comprise the adult body. In previous work, the team had uncovered a number of unique transcription factors that mediate the maintenance of pluripotency via binding to genomic DNA. In this latest publication, they reveal a novel mechanism where SON, a protein localized to nuclear speckles, regulates the proper splicing of transcripts encoding pluripotency regulators such as OCT4, PRDM14, E4F1 and MED24, and ensures cell survival and maintenance of pluripotency in hESC (and by extrapolation, presumably hu
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Contact: Winnie Lim
limcp2@gis.a-star.edu.sg
65-680-88013
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Source:Eurekalert

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