Taiwan scientists find key in pluripotent stem cells

Updated 2018-01-04 10:00:23 Xinhua

Taiwanese scientists have discovered that circular RNA (circRNA) plays a key functional role in pluripotent stem cells, which may help the development of regenerative medicine or medical technologies.

At a press conference Wednesday, Kuo Hung-Chih, an associate research fellow in the Institute of Cellular and Organismic Biology at Taiwan's Academia Sinica, said that his team had found that human pluripotent stem cells contain high levels of certain circRNAs, and one type of circRNA, circBIRC6, acts to regulate stem cell pluripotency.

By manipulating the expression of circBIRC6, researchers were able to direct pluripotent stem cells to either maintain pluripotency or initiate cellular differentiation, according to Kuo.

The scientist explained that when cells in human body become aged or injured, pluripotent stem cells could provide a means for repair. These cells can be induced to form a variety of different cell types and may be able to replace dysfunctional cells or regrow damaged tissues.

Therefore, pluripotent stem cells may find their greatest use in the emerging field of regenerative medicine. In addition, pluripotent stem cells can be used to study developmental biology and disease pathogenesis or to facilitate new drug discovery.

Many research and medical institutions around the world have begun to investigate clinical cell therapy and drug development applications that are based on pluripotent stem cells.

Kuo said pluripotent stem cells include both embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Embryonic stem cells must be isolated from embryos and are not readily available.

Although iPSCs can be directly derived from various somatic cell types, the mechanisms by which pluripotent stem cells regulate pluripotency and differentiation are not fully understood, according to Kuo.

The existence of circRNA is a recent discovery.

"In the past, circRNAs were considered to be mistakes in RNA processing, but current research shows that circRNAs may have important functions, including the regulation of gene expression," Kuo said.

He said that understanding circRNAs might be helpful in the development of innovative medical technologies such as diagnostic tools or treatments for cancers, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

Also in the News

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time
Showbiz2016/06/16 13:58July 21 2018 17:27:28

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time

Attending Shanghai International Film Festival, Nicole Kidman talks about her role in "Grace of Monaco".

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts
Also in the News2014/05/01 12:16July 21 2018 17:27:28

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'
Also in the News2014/04/18 13:18July 21 2018 17:27:28

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'

Hollywood star Johnny Depp's speech in the upcoming new film "Transcendence" has been disclosed on Friday, April 11th.

Most Watched

News:
China World Business Sports Showbiz Audio
Video:
C4 My Chinese Life The Sound Stage China Revealed Showbiz Video Travel Video
Photos:
China World Fun Travel Entertainment Sports
Travel:
Beijing Shanghai Guangzhou
Lifestyle:
Live Music Opera & Classical Movies Traditional Shows Exhibitions
Learn Chinese:
Chinese Studio Living Chinese Everyday Chinese Just For Fun Chinese Culture Buzzwords