Nav: Home

The protein TAZ sends 'mixed signals' to stem cells

September 05, 2017

Just as beauty exists in the eye of the beholder, a signal depends upon the interpretation of the receiver. According to new USC research published in Stem Cell Reports, a protein called TAZ can convey very different signals--depending upon not only which variety of stem cell, but also which part of the stem cell receives it.

When it comes to varieties, some stem cells are "naïve" blank slates; others are "primed" to differentiate into certain types of more specialized cells. Among the truly naïve are mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs), while the primed variety includes the slightly more differentiated mouse epiblast stem cells (EpiSCs) as well as so-called human "ESCs"--which may not be true ESCs at all.

In the new study, PhD student Xingliang Zhou and colleagues in the laboratory of Qi-Long Ying demonstrated that naïve mouse ESCs don't require TAZ in order to self-renew and produce more stem cells. However, they do need TAZ in order to differentiate into mouse EpiSCs.

The scientists observed an even more nuanced situation for the primed varieties of stem cells: mouse EpiSCs and human ESCs. When TAZ is located in the nucleus, this prompts primed stem cells to differentiate into more specialized cell types--a response similar to that of the naïve cells. However, if TAZ is in the cytoplasm, or the region between the nucleus and outer membrane, primed stem cells have the opposite reaction: they self-renew.

"TAZ has stirred up a lot of controversy in our field, because it appears to produce diverse and sometimes opposite effects in pluripotent stem cells," said Ying, senior author and associate professor of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. "It turns out that TAZ can indeed produce opposite effects, depending upon both its subcellular location and the cell type in question."

First author Zhou added: "TAZ provides a new tool to stimulate stem cells to either differentiate or self-renew. This could have important regenerative medicine applications, including the development of a better way to generate the desired cell types for cell replacement therapy."

-end-

Additional co-authors include Ying Lab members Jean Paul Chadarevian and Bryan Ruiz.

This research project was funded by a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) New Faculty Award II (RN2-00938), a CIRM Scientific Excellence through Exploration and Development (SEED) Grant (RS1-00327), and the Chen Yong Foundation of the Zhongmei Group. Zhou was also supported by a federally funded predoctoral fellowship from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development/USC Joint T32 Training Program in Developmental Biology, Stem Cells, and Regeneration.

University of Southern California - Health Sciences

Related Stem Cells Articles:

A protein that stem cells require could be a target in killing breast cancer cells
Researchers have identified a protein that must be present in order for mammary stem cells to perform their normal functions.
Approaching a decades-old goal: Making blood stem cells from patients' own cells
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have, for the first time, generated blood-forming stem cells in the lab using pluripotent stem cells, which can make virtually every cell type in the body.
New research finds novel method for generating airway cells from stem cells
Researchers have developed a new approach for growing and studying cells they hope one day will lead to curing lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis through 'personalized medicine.'
Mature heart muscle cells created in the laboratory from stem cells
Generating mature and viable heart muscle cells from human or other animal stem cells has proven difficult for biologists.
Mutations in bone cells can drive leukemia in neighboring stem cells
DNA mutations in bone cells that support blood development can drive leukemia formation in nearby blood stem cells.
Scientists take aging cardiac stem cells out of semiretirement to improve stem cell therapy
With age, the chromosomes of our cardiac stem cells compress as they move into a state of safe, semiretirement.
Purest yet liver-like cells generated from induced pluripotent stem cells
A team of researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina and elsewhere has found a better way to purify liver cells made from induced pluripotent stem cells.
Stem cell scientists discover genetic switch to increase supply of stem cells from cord blood
International stem cell scientists, co-led in Canada by Dr. John Dick and in the Netherlands by Dr.
Stem cells from diabetic patients coaxed to become insulin-secreting cells
Signaling a potential new approach to treating diabetes, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Oliver Sipple
One morning, Oliver Sipple went out for a walk. A couple hours later, to his own surprise, he saved the life of the President of the United States. But in the days that followed, Sipple's split-second act of heroism turned into a rationale for making his personal life into political opportunity. What happens next makes us wonder what a moment, or a movement, or a whole society can demand of one person. And how much is too much?  Through newly unearthed archival tape, we hear Sipple himself grapple with some of the most vexing topics of his day and ours - privacy, identity, the freedom of the press - not to mention the bonds of family and friendship.  Reported by Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte. Produced by Matt Kielty, Annie McEwen, Latif Nasser and Tracie Hunte. Special thanks to Jerry Pritikin, Michael Yamashita, Stan Smith, Duffy Jennings; Ann Dolan, Megan Filly and Ginale Harris at the Superior Court of San Francisco; Leah Gracik, Karyn Hunt, Jesse Hamlin, The San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive, Mike Amico, Jennifer Vanasco and Joey Plaster. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Future Consequences
From data collection to gene editing to AI, what we once considered science fiction is now becoming reality. This hour, TED speakers explore the future consequences of our present actions. Guests include designer Anab Jain, futurist Juan Enriquez, biologist Paul Knoepfler, and neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris.