Volume 8.15 | Apr 17

ESC & iPSC News 8.15 April 17, 2013
ESC & iPSC News
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TOP STORY
Researchers Morph Ordinary Skin Cells into Functional Brain Cells
Researchers have discovered a technique that directly converts skin cells to the type of brain cells destroyed in patients with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and other myelin disorders. The new technique involves directly converting fibroblasts - an abundant structural cell present in the skin and most organs - into oligodendrocytes, the type of cell responsible for myelinating the neurons of the brain. [Press release from Case Western Reserve University discussing online prepublication in Nature Biotechnology]
Press Release | Abstract

Achieve Superior Differentiation of Mouse MSC & MEF into Osteoblasts with the New MesenCult™ Osteogenic Stimulatory Kit (Mouse)
PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by impact factor of the journal)

Exit from Pluripotency Is Gated by Intracellular Redistribution of the bHLH Transcription Factor Tfe3
Factors that sustain self-renewal of mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are well described. In contrast, the machinery regulating exit from pluripotency is ill defined. In a large-scale small interfering RNA screen, researchers found that knockdown of the tumor suppressors Folliculin (Flcn) and Tsc2 prevent ESC commitment. [Cell] Abstract | Graphical Abstract

Master Transcription Factors and Mediator Establish Super-Enhancers at Key Cell Identity Genes
Master transcription factors Oct4, Sox2, and Nanog bind enhancer elements and recruit Mediator to activate much of the gene expression program of pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Scientists report that the ESC master transcription factors form unusual enhancer domains at most genes that control the pluripotent state. [Cell] Abstract | Graphical Abstract

Generation of Oligodendroglial Cells by Direct Lineage Conversion
Investigators report the generation of induced oligodendrocyte precursor cells (iOPCs) by direct lineage conversion. Forced expression of the three transcription factors Sox10, Olig2 and Zfp536 was sufficient to reprogram mouse and rat fibroblasts into iOPCs with morphologies and gene expression signatures resembling primary OPCs. [Nat Biotechnol] Abstract | Press Release

A Simple Tool to Improve Pluripotent Stem Cell Differentiation
Researchers described a method to help overcome restrictions on the differentiation propensities of human pluripotent stem cells. Culturing pluripotent stem cells in dimethylsulfoxide activates the retinoblastoma protein, increases the proportion of cells in the early G1 phase of the cell cycle and, in more than 25 embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cell lines, improves directed differentiation into multiple lineages. [Nat Methods] Abstract

SK4 Ca2+ Activated K+ Channel Is a Critical Player in Cardiac Pacemaker Derived from Human Embryonic Stem Cells
Investigators used human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes to study their autonomous beating mechanisms. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA] Abstract

Transcription Factors Interfering with Dedifferentiation Induce Cell Type-Specific Transcriptional Profiles
Researchers showed that the transcription factors (TFs) capable of inducing cell type-specific transcriptional profiles prevent the dedifferentiation induced by TFs for pluripotency. Of the large number of TFs expressed in a neural-lineage cell line, they identified a subset of TFs that, when overexpressed, strongly interfered with the dedifferentiation triggered by the procedure to generate induced pluripotent stem cells. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA] Full Article

The Histone Demethylase Jmjd3 Sequentially Associates with the Transcription Factors Tbx3 and Eomes to Drive Endoderm Differentiation
Scientists showed that T-box proteins team up with chromatin modifying enzymes to drive the expression of the key lineage regulator, Eomes during endodermal differentiation of embryonic stem cells. [EMBO J] Abstract

Rigid Microenvironments Promote Cardiac Differentiation of Mouse and Human Embryonic Stem Cells
Researchers examined the role of matrix rigidity on cardiac differentiation using mouse and human embryonic stem cells. [Sci Technol Adv Mater] Full Article | Press Release

A Simple and Scalable Process for the Differentiation of Retinal Pigment Epithelium from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells
Most protocols developed to date for deriving retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) involve time- and labor-consuming manual steps, which hinder their use in biomedical applications requiring large amounts of differentiated cells. The authors describe a simple and scalable protocol for the generation of RPE cells from hPSCs that is less labor-intensive. [Stem Cells Transl Med] Abstract | Press Release

Modeling Neural Crest Induction, Melanocyte Specification, and Disease-Related Pigmentation Defects in hESCs and Patient-Specific iPSCs
Pluripotent stem cell (PSC) technology offers a promising approach for studying human melanocyte development and disease. Researchers report that timed exposure to activators of WNT, BMP, and EDN3 signaling triggers the sequential induction of neural crest and melanocyte precursor fates under dual-SMAD-inhibition conditions. [Cell Rep] Abstract | Graphical Abstract

Gain Hands-On Training. New Course: Differentiation of hPSCs to Neural Progenitor Cells

REVIEWS
Development of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapies for Age-Related Macular Degeneration
The authors describe recent approaches to develop cell-based therapies for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration. Recent research has focused on replacing the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a monolayer of cells vital to photoreceptor cell health. They discuss the various methods used to differentiate and purify RPE from human embryonic stem cells, and describe the surgical approaches being used to transplant these cells in existing and forthcoming clinical trials. [Trends Neurosci] Abstract

Visit our reviews page to see a complete list of reviews in the ESC & iPSC research field.

11th Annual International Cord Blood Symposium | San Francisco
INDUSTRY NEWS

ACT Treats First Patient with Better Vision in Clinical Trial for Stargardt's Macular Dystrophy
Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (ACT) announced treatment of the first patient in patient cohort 2a, consisting of patients with better vision, in its U.S. clinical trial for Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy, a form of juvenile macular degeneration. The patient was injected with 100,000 human embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelial cells. [Advanced Cell Technology, Inc.] Press Release

Putin Watches as UMCG Signs Cooperation Agreement to Set Up Stem Cell Institute in Russia
President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte watched as Folkert Kuipers, Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences and the Supervisory Board of the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), signed a cooperation agreement aimed at establishing a stem cell institute in Skolkovo, Russia. President Edward Crawley and director Nikolai Yankovsky signed the agreement on behalf of the Russian partners, the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology and the Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, respectively. [University Medical Center Groningen] Press Release

Cell Therapy Catapult & the UK Stem Cell Foundation Agree to Collaborate: Working Together on Next-Generation Medicines for Patient Benefit
The Cell Therapy Catapult and the UK Stem Cell Foundation announced that they will be working together to progress promising stem cell-based therapies in the UK. The two organizations, which have entered into a memorandum of understanding to cover their co-operation, are both focused on translational activities, moving potential therapeutic approaches on from early-stage research to the later stages of development. [Cell Therapy Catapult] Press Release

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POLICY NEWS

Researchers and Advocates Gather in Washington, D.C., to Protest Cuts to Biomedical Research
Thousands of scientists and patient advocates poured into a square in downtown Washington, D.C., to hold what organizers billed as the largest-ever rally to call for more funding for biomedical research. The event held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research with support from over 200 organizations, aimed to draw attention to the 5% cut to the National Institutes of Health's (NIH's) $31 billion budget imposed by Congress through sequestration as well as the flat growth of NIH's budget over the past decade. [National Institutes of Health, United States] Press Release

Obama's 2014 Science Budget: Research Gets Some Help, and Hurt
President Barack Obama submitted to Congress his spending plan for the 2014 fiscal year that begins on 1 October. This story detail requests for specific agencies, programs, or initiatives and offer some insight into the Obama administration's vision for science. Plus, reactions from the research community and around the web. [US President, United States] Press Release

Obama Plays Scientific Favorites
US President Barack Obama released a budget plan for fiscal year 2014 that proposes US$143 billion for research and development across the federal government, an increase of about 1% above 2012 levels. But even this modest rise may be wishful thinking. White House budget requests often bear little resemblance to the spending choices made later by Congress, although they can reveal an administration’s policy priorities. [US President, United States] Press Release

Stem Cells Boom in Vet Clinics
New guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could soon rein in veterinary uses of stem cells, a practice that has exploded in the United States over the past decade, even though most therapies are unproven. Many researchers and veterinarians say that the guidance, a draft of which the agency plans to issue by the end of the year, is overdue. But others worry that FDA interference could hamper research that could benefit animals - and their human companions. [Food and Drug Administration, United States]
Press Release

EVENTS
NEW ICCSCE 2013: International Conference on Cell and Stem Cell Engineering
September 26-27, 2013
Rome, Italy

Visit our
events page to see a complete list of events in the ESC & iPSC community.
JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Research Scientist (Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Postdoctoral Positions - Stem Cells and Immunology (University of Connecticut)

Postdoctoral Position - Pluripotent Stem Cell Research (Masaryk University)

Postdoctoral Position - Retroviruses and Gene Transfer Unit (Institut Pasteur, Labex Revive)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow - Ocular Stem Cell (Buck Institute for Research on Aging)

Postdoctoral Research Associate (Queen Mary University of London)


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