News from CRG
In 2012, John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamakana were awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for discovering that adult cells can be reprogrammed into pluripotent ones (iPS); the cells obtained are capable of behaving in a similar way to embryonic stem cells, and hence have enormous potential for regenerative medicine.
However, although there are many research groups around the world studying this process, it is still not completely understood, it is not totally efficient, and it is not safe enough to be used as the basis for a new cell therapy.
Now, researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona have taken a very important step towards understanding cell reprogramming and its efficiency: they have discovered the key role of the Wnt signalling pathway in transforming adult cells into iPS cells.
"Generally, transcription factors are used to try to increase or decrease the cell reprogramming process. We have discovered that we can increase the efficiency of the process by inhibiting the Wnt route", explains Francesco Aulicino, a PhD student in the Reprogramming and Regeneration group, led by Maria Pia Cosma and co-author of the study that has just been published in Stem Cell Reports.
Aulicino, F., Theka, Il, Ombrato, L., Lluis, F., and Cosma, M.P. (2014). Temporal Perturbation of the Wnt Signaling Pathway in the Control of Cell Reprogramming Is Modulated by TCFI. Stem Cell Rep. 2, 707-720. DOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2014.04.001