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Super-resolution microscopes reveal the link between genome packaging and cell pluripotency

March 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In 1953 Watson and Crick first published the discovery of the double helix structure of the DNA. They were able to visualize the DNA structure by means of X-Ray diffraction. Techniques, such as electron microscopy, allowed scientists to identify nucleosomes, the first and most basic level of chromosome organisation. Until now it was known that our DNA is packaged by regular repeating units of those nucleosomes throughout the genome giving rise to chromatin. However, due to the lack of suitable techniques and instruments, the chromatin organisation inside a cell nucleus could not be observed in a non-invasive way with the sufficient resolution. Now, for the first time, a group of scientists at the CRG and ICFO in Barcelona, have been able to visualise and even count the smallest units which, packaged together, form our genome. This study was possible thanks to the use of super-resolution microscopy, a new cutting-edge optical technique that received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2014. In combination with innovative quantitative approaches and numerical simulations, they were also able to define the genome architecture at the nano-scale. Most importantly, they found that the nucleosomes are assembled in irregular groups across the chromatin and nucleosome-free-DNA regions separate these groups.

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Molecular time signalling controls stem cells during brain’s development

November 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have succeeded in explaining how stem cells in the brain change to allow one type of stem cell to produce different cell types at different stages. In a study being published in the journal Neuron, researchers show that the signal molecule TGF-beta acts as a time signal that regulates the nerve stem cells’ potential at different stages of the brain’s development – knowledge that may be significant for future pharmaceutical development.

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Bulletproof nuclei? Stem cells exhibit unusual absorption property

April 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Stem cells – the body’s master cells – demonstrate a bizarre property never before seen at a cellular level, according to a study published today from scientists at the University of Cambridge. The property – known as auxeticity – is one which may have application as wide-ranging as soundproofing, super-absorbent sponges and bulletproof vests.

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Researchers transplant regenerated esophagus

April 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Tissue engineering has been used to construct natural oesophagi, which in combination with bone marrow stem cells have been safely and effectively transplanted in rats. The study, published in Nature Communications, shows that the transplanted organs remain patent and display regeneration of nerves, muscles, epithelial cells and blood vessels.

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Biomaterials get stem cells to commit to a bony future

January 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

With the help of biomimetic matrices, a research team led by bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego has discovered exactly how calcium phosphate can coax stem cells to become bone-building cells. This work is published in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of Jan. 6, 2014.

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Stem cell scarring aids recovery from spinal cord injury

November 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

In a new study, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden show that the scar tissue formed by stem cells after a spinal cord injury does not impair recovery; in fact, stem cell scarring confines the damage. The findings, which are published in the scientific journal Science, indicate that scar tissue prevents the lesion from expanding and helps injured nerve cells survive.

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Stomach cells naturally revert to stem cells

October 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

New research has shown that the stomach naturally produces more stem cells than previously realized, likely for repair of injuries from infections, digestive fluids and the foods we eat.

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Shining stem cells reveals how our skin is maintained

August 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

All organs in our body rely on stem cells in order to maintain their function. The skin is our largest organ and forms a shield against the environment. New research results from BRIC, University of Copenhagen and Cambridge University, challenge current stem cell models and explains how the skin is maintained throughout life. The results have just been published in the recognized journal Cell Stem Cell.

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Spanish scientists successfully generate ‘artificial bones’ from umbilical cord stem cells

July 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Scientists in Granada, Spain, have patented a new biomaterial that facilitates generating bone tissue—artificial bones in other words—from umbilical cord stem cells . The material, consisting of an activated carbon cloth support for cells that differentiate giving rise to a product that can promote bone growth, has recently been presented at a press conference at the Biomedical Research Centre, Granada.

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Rewinding development: A step forward for stem cell research

June 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Scientists at the Danish Stem Cell Center, DanStem, at the University of Copenhagen have discovered that they can make embryonic stem cells regress to a stage of development where they are able to make placenta cells as well as the other fetal cells. This significant discovery, published in the journal Cell Reports today, has the potential to shed new light on placenta related disorders that can lead to problematic pregnancies and miscarriages.

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