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Key circuit regulates genes involved in producing blood stem cells.

BARCELONA, Spain, January 31, 2013 -- Researchers have deciphered one of the gene regulation circuits which would make it possible to generate hematopoietic blood cells, i.e., blood tissue stem cells.

This finding from the group on stem cells and cancer at IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute) is essential to generate these cells in a laboratory in the future, a therapy that could benefit patients with leukemia or other diseases who need a transplant and who, in many cases, do not have a compatible donor.

In the process of generating stem cells, many molecule signals intervene which, through a regulating circuit are induced at a certain moment and remain active during a specific time until they switch off so these cells can differentiate.

"We discovered that the Notch protein, which is involved in the development of most tissues, is responsible for activating the gene GATA2 which is necessary to generate hematopoietic stem cells; at the same time, it induces the reproduction of its own repressor, HES-1," said Anna Bigas, the coordinator of the research group on stem cells and cancer at IM1M:

The team has also shown that this regulating circuit allows the limited production of GATA2, and this is essential for the production of hematopoietic stem cells.

The study was developed over four years and consisted in performing a large number of experiments with the collaboration of groups from Japan, Holland and the United States.

Citation: "Hes repressors are essential regulators of hematopoietic stem cell development downstream of Notch signaling"; J. Guiu et al.; Journal of Experimental Medicine, 2012; 210(1): 71 DOI: 10.1084/jem.20120993


Contact: Anna Bigas,

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Title Annotation:Basic Research
Publication:Stem Cell Research News
Date:Feb 4, 2013
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