[Cell-biology] Carbohydrate Regulates Stem Cell Potency

biospace from noster-it.com via cellbiol%40net.bio.net (by biospace from noster-it.com)
Sat Dec 6 14:08:33 EST 2008

Heparan sulfate, a carbohydrate molecule that coats certain proteins
on the cell surface, is critical for the proper proliferation and
potency of embryonic stem cells, researchers report.
Stem cells' tremendous therapeutic potential arises from their ability
to continually self-renew and turn into any adult cell type.
Researchers have long been trying to uncover the basis of these
abilities, but while several proteins and growth factors are known to
play a role both inside and outside the cell, the molecular mechanisms
remain largely unknown.

Many of the stem-cell associated can attach to heparan sulfate
molecules, so Shoko Nishihara and colleagues examined what would
happen to mouse stem cells in cell culture if heparan sulfate
production was reduced or blocked. They discovered that three of the
major external factors promoting stem cell renewal (proteins called
Wnt, FGF, and BMP) could not induce the proper signals inside the cell
without heparan sulfate (HS).

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