Mystery Of Embryonic Stem Cell Signaling Pathway Unlocked By Scientists
Main Category: Stem Cell Research News
Article Date: 22 Mar 2007 - 16:00 PDT

A newly discovered small molecule called IQ-1 plays a key role in preventing embryonic stem cells from differentiating into one or more specific cell types, allowing them to instead continue growing and dividing indefinitely, according to research performed by a team of scientists who have recently joined the stem-cell research efforts at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. Their findings are being published in an early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This discovery takes scientists another step closer to being able to grow embryonic stem cells without the "feeder layer" of mouse fibroblast cells that is essential for maintaining the pluripotency of embryonic stem cells, says the study's primary investigator, Michael Kahn, Ph.D., who was recently named the first Provost's Professor of Medicine and Pharmacy at USC. Such a layer is needed because it is currently the only proven method to provide the stem cells with the necessary chemical signals that prompt them to stay
undifferentiated and to continue dividing over and over. ..........

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