Researchers identify factors behind blood-making stem cells

July 6, 2010, University of Montreal

A team of researchers from the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the University of Montreal have made significant progress in the understanding of blood-producing (hematopoietic) stem cells.

The study led by IRIC Chief Executive Officer and Scientific Director, Dr. Guy Sauvageau, identifies factors that control the production of hematopoietic stem cells. Published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, the research offers interesting insight critical to the development of novel regenerative therapies and treatments for leukemia.

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are located within the and serve as a reservoir for the production of all blood cells. A disruption in this process can have dire consequences leading either to a depleted blood cell population which can cause severe immune deficiencies, or excessive proliferation of blood cells which can trigger the development of leukemia. At the moment, relatively little is known about what controls this production.

The current study aims to understand the roles of various proteins that are present in HSCs and their impact on blood production. Researchers found that three proteins (Msi2, Pard6a and Prkcz) help blood cells to regenerate. That is, when HSCs lack these proteins, blood cells have a reduced capacity to regenerate themselves. Results from a fourth , Prox1, showed the reverse effect: their presence hinders the reproduction of .

"Understanding which proteins control the production of blood-making stem cells is crucial knowledge for designing therapies for diseases caused by unruly HSCs" explains Dr. Sauvageau, "Now that we recognize the key roles that these proteins play, we can evaluate their potential as therapeutic targets to treat a variety of diseases such as ."

More information: Kristin J. Hope, Sonia Cellot, Stephen B. Ting, Tara MacRae, Nadine Mayotte, Norman N. Iscove, and Guy Sauvageau. An RNAi Screen Identifies Msi2 and Prox1 as Having Opposite Roles in the Regulation of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Activity. Cell Stem Cell, Volume: 7; Issue: 1; Manuscript: 682 www.cell.com/cell-stem-cell/

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Fabric imbued with optical fibers helps fight skin diseases

February 23, 2018
A team of researchers with Texinov Medical Textiles in France has announced that their PHOS-ISTOS system, called the Fluxmedicare, is on track to be made commercially available later this year. The system consists of a piece ...

DNA gets away: Scientists catch the rogue molecule that can trigger autoimmunity

February 22, 2018
A research team has discovered the process - and filmed the actual moment - that can change the body's response to a dying cell. Importantly, what they call the 'Great Escape' moment may one day prove to be the crucial trigger ...

Low-calorie diet enhances intestinal regeneration after injury

February 22, 2018
Dramatic calorie restriction, diets reduced by 40 percent of a normal calorie total, have long been known to extend health span, the duration of disease-free aging, in animal studies, and even to extend life span in most ...

Artificial intelligence quickly and accurately diagnoses eye diseases and pneumonia

February 22, 2018
Using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, researchers at Shiley Eye Institute at UC San Diego Health and University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in China, Germany and Texas, ...

Gut microbes protect against sepsis—mouse study

February 22, 2018
Sepsis occurs when the body's response to the spread of bacteria or toxins to the bloodstream damages tissues and organs. The fight against sepsis could get a helping hand from a surprising source: gut bacteria. Researchers ...

Breakthrough could lead to better drugs to tackle diabetes and obesity

February 22, 2018
Breakthrough research at Monash University has shown how different areas of major diabetes and obesity drug targets can be 'activated', guiding future drug development and better treatment of diseases.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.