Stem cell neuron production control mechanism discovered
A mechanism that enables the production of cellular diversity in the developing nervous system has been discovered by a team from the University of Toronto researching the little-understood process of cell division.
When cells multiply in order to generate new tissue, they divide into two daughter cells that may or may not be identical, and The factors that determine if the daughter cells will be similar or different are not understood.
The team led by FullInstitut de RecherchesCliniques de Montréal (IRCM) Research Professor and Cellular Neurobiology Research Unit Director Michel Cayouette in collaboration with a team led by University of Toronto Associate Professor Stéphane Angers investigated this phenomena using the hypothesis that the orientation of cell division influences cell diversification.
The researchers discovered that the SAPCD2 gene influences the orientation at which cell division takes place, and that this orientation controls the fate of daughter cells in living organisms. To prove this, they took the retinal stem cells from mice and genetically programmed them to express or not express SAPCD2.
The data showed that in the absence of SAPCD2 a number of the cells changed orientation and that the daughter cells produced were different.In the cells that expressed SAPCD2, the majority of the daughter cells produced were identical, showing that the presence of the gene controls cell orientation and therefore affects cell diversification.
The research could be used to help generate specific cell types needed in various medical treatments, which could then be implanted in patients suffering from diseases that cause blindness to help regenerate damaged tissues.There are possible applications for cancer treatment too, as the absence of SAPCD2 could slow the growth of tumours.
However, a perfect stem cell match is needed to avoid the chances of the body rejecting donated cells, and these cells are best harvested when young to avoid the natural deterioration associated with age and pollutant.