Researchers make stem cells from developing sperm

Posted on: August 7, 2009

The promise of stem cell therapy may lie in uncovering how adult cells revert back into a primordial, stem cell state, whose fate is yet to be determined. Now, cell scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have identified key molecular players responsible for this reversion in fruit fly sperm cells. Reporting online this week in Cell Stem Cell, researchers show that two proteins are responsible redirecting cells on the way to becoming sperm back to stem cells.

“We knew from our previous work that cells destined to be sperm could revert back to being stem cells, but we didn’t know how,” says Erika Matunis, Ph.D., an associate professor of cell biology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Since, dedifferentiation is an interesting phenomenon probably occurring in a lot of different stem cell populations, we wanted to know more about the process.”

Like all stem cells, each of the nine stem cells in the fly testis divides to form two daughter cells: One stays a stem cell and the other differentiates into an adult cell, in this case, a sperm cell. To figure out what might cause sperm cells to revert or dedifferentiate, Matunis’s research team genetically altered the flies so that both cells become sperm, reducing the stem cell population in the testis to nothing.

About a week later, the team examined these fly testes and found that the stem cells had been repopulated.

To figure out how this was happening, the researchers first suspected two proteins—Jak and STAT—known to act together to help stem cells maintain their stem cell-ness. The team genetically altered flies to reduce the activity of Jak and STAT in the testis. Counting the number of cells, they found that the loss of Jak-STAT caused fewer cells to revert to stem cells; only 60 percent of testes regained stem cells compared to 97 percent in normal Jak-STAT-containing testes.

“We now know that in the fly testis, interfering with Jak-STAT signaling interferes with the process of dedifferentiation,” says Matunis.

Next, Matunis would like to figure out how Jak and STAT control dedifferentiation. “We don’t know if a cell is just reversing all of the steps to go back to being a stem cell or if it is doing something totally new and different, but we’re eager to find out,” she says

Source: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

1 Response to "Researchers make stem cells from developing sperm"

have you thought of the possibility your are zeroing in on the mechanism that can change any cell into a stem cell instead of ony the sperm. the sperm would be the obvious place to look for these kind of chemical reactions since they are in essence the essence of 1/2 of a life form. don’t forget you are dealing with 1/2 maybe to not blind yourself to the fact you might be seeing modifiers of the process which are important but may not be the ultimate roseta stone. an example i use for scientist and i grew up with a phd research scientist father and i have a brother who doesn’t impress me intellectually who has his phd. although i’m very proud of the work he does, what i see in these uhhh geniuss’s… is often the observations they see are correct but the meaning is far from the actually working knowledge. kind of like seing a squirrel run down a tree right before a storm and then the tree getting hit by lighting.. some would come to the conclusion the squirrel caused the lightning… in truth animals may have an eltro senstive mechanism which tips them offf to the fact lighting is about to strike. i have been in the area on a golf course where lighting struck a tree 20 yards from me i could feel and taste the lighting coming. oh just in case your confused the tree may have actually caused the lightning discharge since it was the tallest structure in a highly charged electronically speaking atmosphere. to tie it all up if i were to look for stem cells in adults i would start with the gametes, if i was looking for the key to the immune system i would study the interrelation to colostrum , oxytocin, and the shift in the mothers immune system before during and and after pregnancy. if your looking for needle don’t look in a haystack.. look in a needle factory maybe. i am a visual artist who studies neuro biology on a very high level and have been doing human research on myself for several years in the area of ptsd and the nmda modifiers as they relate the the breakdown of tryptophan in restoring brain plastisidy. I have in myself a case history of abcess, close to the brain and severe emotional trauma i have had to seek my own answers since i could not find studies that were actually helpfull and biochemically sound and proveable. i’m still badly broken but certain parts of my intelect functionat a very high level again maybe it is possible i have clues about some of these things

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