We’re big fans of stem cell research, the vast potential it represents and the close connection it has to epigenetics. Apparently we aren’t alone either, judging by the avalanche of top-notch papers that regularly cross our monitors. We’ve even give serious consideration to launching another site just to be able cover the area properly (StemGenie, anyone?). But, until we can drum up the bandwidth to pull that off, take a look back at all of the stem cell related content we’ve covered.
Epigenetics of (iPS) Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
- Different Strokes For DNA Methylation Patterns in Stem Cell Lines: Although we often think of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines as being pretty much the same they really are different. Even though they usually can differentiate into the same cell types, hESCs can have different methylation patterns—which may affect gene expression.
- Turning Back the Clock: Epigenetics, iPSCs and Aging: Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a rare and fatal genetic disorder where the victims speed through aging. A new stem-cell model was created a for the premature ageing illness that should facilitate aging related studies.
- DNA Methylation Keeps iPS Cells Living in the Past: Researchers have discovered that induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells retain transcriptional memories of their past lives as somatic cells, which can be at least partially explained by incomplete DNA methylation during cell reprogramming.
- MethylC-Seq Delivers First Single Base Resolution Methylation Profiles of iPSCs : Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) generated from old somatic cells aren’t quite the same as youthful embryonic stem cells (ESCs)—the epigenetics are bit “off”.
- Ta-da! Blood Cells Transform into iPSCs : Turning a cell into an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) is tricky. It turns out that blood cells have an edge—they already epigenetically resemble iPSCs.
- Butyrate Boosts iPS Derivation via Epigenetic Remodeling: It seems that human fibroblasts need like a little something extra to help them reprogram into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), in this case it’s butyrate.
- iPS Cells Can’t Escape Their miRNA Pasts: A review describes intrinsic differences in the microRNA profiles of iPS and hESCs, making a strong case that although iPS cells express pluripotency markers and behave very similar to hESCs, there are still key transcriptional differences between the two.
- The Shores of CpG Islands Reveal Differences Between iPS and ES cells: The shores of CpG islands are a hot spot for epigenetic movers and shakers like DNAm. In fact, researchers have found evidence in the shores of CpG islands that induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells may not be all that they seem.
5-Hydroxymethylcytosine in Stem Cells
- ES Cells and their 5hmC Highwire Balancing Act : UK scientists find that changes in the relative levels of 5mC and 5hmC in ES cells could help tip cells toward differentiation.
- Uncovering 5hmC’s Link to Stem Cell Self-Renewal: This study in Nature ties the 5-hmC modification to a demethylation pathway, regulated by Tet proteins, that helps keep embryonic stem cells (ESCs) in the stem zone.
Epigenetics of Differentiation and Stem Cell States
- Two ES Cell Types Find Some Common Ground: There are few differences between nuclear transfer-derived ES (ntES) and in vitro fertilized embryo-derived ES (IVFES) cells. Sure, they’re from different sides of the ES cell tracks, but as researchers found out, once they’ve differentiated it hardly seems to matter.
- To “B-cell” Or Not To “B-cell” – DNA Methylation & Stem Cell Fate: Recent work revealed some of the first insights into the causal relationships between methylation state and stem cell fate through a novel genetic approach allowing for tissue- and cell-specific shutdown of DNMT1.
- miR-200a Takes Down Cancerous Stem-like Transition: Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) the gateway between normal epithelial cells and those that gain mesenchymal properties, is thought to be the point where cancer metastasis kicks off, and it seems that miRNA-200a runs the show when it comes to keeping that dangerous transition in check.
- The Ups and Downs of miR-145 and OCT4 in hESCs: The intricate network of factors that allow stem cells to retain their stemness , like the transcription factors OCT4 and SOX2, and miRNAs, exhibit unique/different expression patterns in hESCs vs. differentiated embryoid bodies (EBs).
- ESC Pluripotency Players Take To REST: The lab gloves came off in a recent Nature exchange on the putative role of the transcriptional repressor, REST, in embryonic stem cell pluripotency. Both groups cited previous findings that supported their data, making a compelling story for each.
- Stem Cells Can’t Hold Their Liquor: Scientists determined that not only does alcohol change methylation patterns, but it blocks the necessary methylation programming changes that normally occur as NSCs differentiate.