Few inventions have led the convenience revolution more so than the remote control. The Pause, Play, and Fast-forward buttons give us complete command of our entertainment while we relax after a hard day at work.
But little did we know that researchers from the group of Miguel A. Esteban (Chinese Academy of Sciences) haven’t been glued to their screens; instead, they’ve been hard at work discovering the cells molecular equivalents to these oft jabbed buttons involved in cellular reprogramming.
The group discovered these controls whilst studying the intricacies behind the cellular reprogramming involved in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). While research has taken giant leaps and bounds in this area, most of the protocols used to generate iPSCs remain a bit inefficient, and researchers have yet to fully understand this amazing process.
However, Esteban’s group have now discovered a molecular “pause”, “play” and “fast-forward” button which controls the expression of pluripotency associated genes required for cellular reprogramming.
The group monitored the reprogramming process in great deal, combining chromatin IP analysis of various factors involved in transcription and mRNA/protein analysis. They uncovered a few amazing findings by assessing these factors throughout the process of converting mouse fibroblasts to iPSCs, through the forced expression of specific genes (Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and Myc).
Let’s “pause” and have a look at some of these interesting findings:
- The mRNA transcriptional machinery is present at pluripotency genes during reprogramming but generally remains in a “paused” state
- Transcription is promoted through the actions of pause release factor P-TEFb, which in effect, presses the play button
- KLF4, a known reprogramming gene, and BRD4, a chromatin associated protein, both enhance P-TEFb’s function, acting as a fast-forward function
This is definitely a paper worthy of putting down the remote, so head over to Cell Stem Cell 2014