Thu, Aug 24, 2017 | updated 04:38 AM IST

What is the similarity between 'Yin and yang' switch, animal stem cells?

Updated: Aug 10, 2016 13:09 IST      
What is the similarity between 'Yin and yang' switch, animal stem cells?

Washington D.C., Aug .10 (ANI): A study says that a molecular switch that flips between different versions of genes could be crucial for maintaining stem cells across all animals from simple flatworms to humans.

The study at Center for Genomic Regulation says that flatworms (also known as planarians) have an incredible capacity for self-renewal, with almost any part of their body able to regenerate a whole new worm in a matter of days.

The researchers found that they 'mix and match' certain parts of their genes in particular ways - a process known as alternative splicing. The same analysis of flatworm cells that had changed into more specific cell types revealed a different mixture of gene parts.

Looking more closely, the team discovered that two families of molecules - CELF and MBNL - work as a kind of 'yin and yang' switch, enabling cells to flip between different patterns of alternative splicing. CELF molecules guide gene splicing patterns linked to self-renewal of stem cells, while MBNL factors favour differentiation.

The study builds on Irimia's previous research showing that MBNL proteins and alternative splicing patterns are important in human and mouse embryonic stem cells as they differentiate into other cell types.

Previously, scientists have discovered certain proteins, known as transcription factors that are important for maintaining embryonic stem cells in mammals.

However, these particular molecules do not play the same roles in the stem cells of invertebrate organisms such as flatworms, which split off from the ancestors of mammals around 600 million years ago, suggesting that they are quite new in evolutionary terms.

"Discovering that this kind of alternative splicing mechanism exists across such a wide evolutionary range suggests that it is very ancient, and may be equally important as transcription factors for giving animal stem cells their unique properties" said lead researcher Manuel Irimia.

"Furthermore, understanding how this 'yin and yang' switch is flipped and activates particular patterns of alternative splicing could one day lead to more improved methods for generating and differentiating stem cells, which could be used be used for regenerative medicine," Irimia added.

The study has been published in eLife. (ANI)

USA all set to witness the great American Solar eclipse

Updated: Aug 21, 2017 18:59 IST     

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Indian researchers discover two new species of earthworm

Updated: Aug 19, 2017 06:57 IST     

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Japan introduces solar heat-blocking pavements

Updated: Aug 17, 2017 14:10 IST     

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Updated: Aug 15, 2017 10:16 IST     

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Updated: Aug 13, 2017 05:25 IST     

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Updated: Aug 11, 2017 04:21 IST     

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Turns out, you can catch 'Science' bug from peers

Updated: Aug 10, 2017 07:17 IST     

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Ocean's fastest shark at risk of being 'overfished'

Updated: Aug 09, 2017 01:46 IST     

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20-month-olds can understand difference between two languages

Updated: Aug 08, 2017 07:12 IST     

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Kicking butts to the curb

Updated: Aug 07, 2017 00:57 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 7 (ANI): Cigarette butts are more than mere litter and now, a team of scientists has found a way to pave over the big problem.

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Updated: Aug 06, 2017 13:55 IST     

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Scientists unveil how brain works with the help of magic

Updated: Aug 02, 2017 14:58 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], August 2 (ANI): To tap into brain's 'out-of-the box' thinking, scientists are now relying on magic tricks and illusions.

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