During the off and on differentiation process of cells, there are marks that help the cells to remember where they are and where they are heading, which is to say to mark the point where they are and what kind of target cells they are to become with the gene. The marks are just like the bookmark in reading, thus the research team from the University of Alabama at Birminghamthat developed the method called the removal of the marks de-bookmarking.
As fibroblast is one of the sources for induced pluripotent stem cells, the experiments on fibroblast cells make sense. And from the present researches, it suggests the new tech can bring at least two aspects of benefits. One is to increase the yield rate of induced pluripotent stem cells which performs well only in mouse primary cells and the other is to make stem cells perform better in medical researches and many other applications.
The bookmark for the process of fibroblasts differentiating into IPS cells is a protein named bromodomains extra terminal (BET). The protein is loaded with gene program and to break the program needs to change the protein. The research team applied a chemical to achieve this goal.
The process not only makes the yielding rate of IPS cells from fibroblasts much higher, also make the induced cells carry more enhanced performance with less genes brought by the last stage cells, and that is fibroblasts in this situation.
Another point that should be noticed is that with the de-bookmarking the shape of the IPS cells changed into polygonal or rounded cell from long spindle shape. That’s one aspect of the evidence that the set gene expression route has been changed with the de-bookmarking. The identity characters of fibroblasts are decreased. The tech will boost the production of IPS cells to better meet the research needs various area.
The research paper is published on Cell Reports and titled in Reprogramming by de-bookmarking the somatic transcriptional program through targeting of BET bromodomains
Related cells: Human Dermal Fibroblasts