About the fact that stem cells are veryWe all know unique living mechanisms that can turn into any other cells (and subsequently form organs) for a long time. But how exactly do these very stem cells “decide who to be”? After all, they all contain the same genetic material and do not differ from each other. And, apparently, researchers from the University of Copenhagen received new data on exactly how the "transformation" occurs.
What is unique about stem cells?
All stem cells share a common potential.development into any specific cell of our body. Therefore, many researchers are trying to answer fundamental questions about what determines the "fate" of cell development, as well as when and why cells lose this potential. Researchers at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Biology at the University of Copenhagen found that proteins called transcription factors, which, in some ways, were responsible for cell mutation, play a completely different role.
See also: What are stem cells and why are they needed?
For 30 years, scientists thought that factorstranscriptions are what trigger the work of genes, turning them on and off. Which leads to a change in cells. However, new research results show something completely different.
We previously thought that transcription factorscontrol a process that determines whether a gene is expressed and subsequently translated into the corresponding protein. The results indicate that these proteins may be something like cell memory. As long as transcription factors are associated with the gene, the gene can be read (included). Once transcription factors disappear, cells can no longer return to their “starting point," explains Josh Brickman, a professor at the University of Copenhagen and lead author of the project.
Researchers have developed a stem modelcells simulating the cell’s response to external signals and used it to accurately determine the sequence of events associated with turning the genes on and off in response to the incoming signal. If you are interested in this topic, as well as other news from the world of science and high technology, we recommend subscribing to our channel in Telegram.
Transcription factors are stillkey element, but they do not control the process, as previously thought. After the signal arrives and the differentiation process begins, the factors cause a change in the genes and remain in place for some time after the gene is read. And when they “understand” that cell modification has begun, the factors disappear. You can compare this process with the traces that the plane leaves in the sky. They are in the air for a while, but slowly dissipate.
This discovery is primarily changingfundamental assumptions about molecular biology. New results are especially important for researchers working on stem cells. They give an understanding of how cells develop, how paths of change are determined, and when it becomes impossible to reverse these changes. This is also important because the same pathways are involved in the formation of cancer cells. This means that it will be possible to develop new methods to combat this terrible state.