Wednesday, 29 January 2014 14:16

Stress Reprograms Cells to Stem State

Written by  ASCB Post Staff
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stem cellsPatient-derived glioma stem cells.
Photo credit: Cell Image Library
Making pluripotent stem cells, cells with the ability to turn into almost any cell type, is easier than ever, according to new papers published this week in Nature. Just add stress.

The research, led by Haruko Obokata and Charles A. Vacanti of Harvard Medical School, Yoshiki Sasai of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, and Teruhiko Wakayama of the University of Yamanishi, shows that exposing cells to stress can make the cells pluripotent. The stresses—exposure to low pH, physical squeezing, and a bacterial toxin that makes holes in the cell membrane—are fast and efficient compared with current methods of making induced pluripotent stem cells.