Stem Cell Conference
Stem cells are the mother of all eukaryotic cells: generics that can differentiate into specialized cells to perform specific functions. Stem cells can also self-renew and generate more stem cells.
Early in an organism’s life, following a development plan, embryonic stem cells differentiate into cells that form various tissues and organs. This process comes from exquisitely coordinated dialogues between cells. At least 3 different protein networks are involved in stem cell differentiation.
1st, activating and deactivating various genes direct a stem cell toward differentiation. This involves a flurry of epigenetic intracellular communication.
2nd, epigenetic tags on messenger RNA of activated genes properly nudge a cell toward differentiation.
3rd, the feedback loop that normally inhibits cell proliferation is blocked, allowing rapid cellular development in the determined direction. Cancer cells proliferate by blocking this inhibiting feedback loop.
Epigenetics provides both the language and recordkeeping of what is going on during this complex conference, which eventuates in a stem cell taking on a new role.
As needed throughout life, stem cells provide repairs by replacing damaged cells. The communication process involved is selfsame to that during development.