Feb 22, 2022

Study identifies key regulator of cell differentiation

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Embryonic stem cells and other pluripotent cells divide rapidly and have the capacity to become nearly any cell type in the body. Scientists have long sought to understand the signals that prompt stem cells to switch off pluripotency and adopt their final functional state.

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers report that they have identified a key regulator of this process. They discovered that a molecule known as BEND3 shuts down expression of hundreds of genes associated with differentiation, maintaining the cell’s stem cell-like status. Only when BEND3 is downregulated can adopt their final form and function. Once they differentiate, they usually stop actively proliferating.

The findings are relevant to understanding normal development and also may be useful in , said University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign cell and developmental biology professor and department head Supriya Prasanth, who led the research.

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