Manipulating Stem Cells Through Their Metabolites | May 10, 2010 Issue - Vol. 88 Issue 19 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 88 Issue 19 | p. 36 | Concentrates
Issue Date: May 10, 2010

Manipulating Stem Cells Through Their Metabolites

Stem-cell differentiation can be regulated by controlling unsaturated metabolites
Department: Science & Technology | Collection: Stem Cells
Keywords: stem cell, metabolite, unsaturated molecules, reduction

Stem cell differentiation—the process of turning a blank stem cell into a specific type of cell—can be regulated by controlling the reduction of stem cell metabolites, chemists at Scripps Research Institute have found (Nat. Chem. Biol., DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.364). Stem cells contain a pool of unsaturated molecules that decrease as stem cells mature. Oscar Yanes, Sheng Ding, and Gary Siuzdak discovered that they can inhibit differentiation by blocking certain enzymes that reduce highly oxidized metabolites in the pool. In addition, the researchers found they can expedite differentiation and obtain a greater number of mature cells by adding metabolites, such as the eicosanoid shown. Understanding the chemical basis for how stem cells mature opens the door for scientists to better manipulate differentiation to meet the different needs of patients who can benefit from stem cell therapies. For example, the Scripps team turned stem cells into neurons and cardiac cells, but Yanes says the process could work to control turning stem cells into any kind of mature cells.

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