q&more
My watch list
my.chemie.de  
Login  

News

New mouse model makes stem cells light up green

Random find opens up new perspectives

(c) Martin Breitbach/Uni Bonn

Scientists at the University of Bonn have found a way to specifically mark multipotent stromal cells. These cells therefore light up green in the microscope image.

06-Feb-2018: Multipotent stromal cells have long been a hot topic in medical research. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now found a way to specifically mark these stem cells. This makes it possible to analyze their distribution pattern and their function in living organisms.

In order to examine a particular cell type, one must first be able to clearly distinguish it from others. Biologists and physicians have therefore developed sophisticated methods for the live labeling of specific cells. For multipotent stromal cells however, this has until now only been possible to a limited extent.

This is particularly unsatisfactory, because these cells are a focal point of research interest, especially in regenerative medicine. For instance, it is known that they can become bone, fat or cartilage cells. Additionally, it is believed that they play a role in wound healing processes, but also in pathological events, for instance those that occur during vascular calcification (arteriosclerosis).

“In all these development and disease processes however, there are still many unanswered questions”, explains Dr. Martin Breitbach from the Institute of Physiology I at the University of Bonn. “Which is why we looked for a way to mark multipotent stromal cells in the living organism.” To this end, the scientists searched for genetic information that is read frequently in the cells of interest, but is rather inactive in other cell types. They found what they were looking for in the so-called CD73 gene.

Live reporter indicates gene activity

They then generated transgenic mice, where expression of the CD73 gene results in green fluorescent labeling of the respective cell. “As CD73 is mainly active in the multipotent stromal cells, these are marked by a green glow”, explains Breitbach's co-author Dr. Kenichi Kimura.

This approach has in principle been established for many years. But until now, there was no known adequate marker for multipotent stromal cells that is well-suited to distinguishing them from other cells. “And we have now found this marker with the CD73 gene”, explains Kimura.

The dye-labeling made it possible to isolate these cells from the bone marrow. The scientists were then able to show that bone, fat and cartilage cells differentiate from a single multipotent stromal cell in the culture dish. “Our method makes it possible to examine the cells in their original state”, says Breitbach. “In future studies, it will for example be possible to clarify directly in the living animal whether and how the stem cells migrate to the different organs in the case of injury or illness, and what they do there.”

Chance discovery opens new perspectives

A result that the scientists themselves had not expected also opens up new research perspectives: In addition to the multipotent stromal cells, sinusoidal endothelial cells in the bone marrow are another cell type that appears to have increased CD73 activity.

The researchers were delighted about this discovery: It only became recently known that the maturation and distribution of hematopoietic stem cells are regulated by a variety of endothelial cell types. Sinusoidal endothelial cells probably play a key role here. But the underlying mechanisms are still rather puzzling. Because until recently, they too could not be stained specifically and thus distinguished from the other endothelial cells within the bone marrow.

The scientists have now purified the various cell populations and characterized the genetic fingerprint of the multipotent stromal cells and the sinusoidal endothelial cells in detail. “These findings are extremely interesting”, says Breitbach. “They provide deeper insights into these cell types and are a starting point for further studies.”

Original publication:
Martin Breitbach, Kenichi Kimura, Tiago C. Luis, Christopher J. Fuegemann, Petter S. Woll, Michael Hesse, Raffaella Facchini, Sarah Rieck, Katarzyna Jobin, Julia Reinhardt, Osamu Ohneda, Daniela Wenzel, Caroline Geisen, Christian Kurts, Wolfgang Kastenmüller, Michael Hölzel, Sten E. W. Jacobsen, Bernd K. Fleischmann; "In vivo labeling by CD73 marks multipotent stromal cells and highlights endothelial heterogeneity in the bone marrow niche"; Cell Stem Cell; 1.2.2018;

Facts, background information, dossiers

  • stem cells
  • mouse models
  • cell analysis
  • multipotent stromal cells
  • cells
  • endothelial cells
  • blood stem cells
  • gene activity

More about Universität Bonn

  • News

    New method allows precise gene control by light

    A novel optical switch makes it possible to precisely control the lifespan of genetic "copies". These are used by the cell as building instructions for the production of proteins. The method was developed by researchers from the universities of Bonn and Bayreuth. It may significantly advanc ... more

    A "corset" for the enzyme structure

    The structure of enzymes determines how they control vital processes such as digestion or immune response. This is because the protein compounds are not rigid, but can change their shape through movable "hinges". The shape of enzymes can depend on whether their structure is measured in the ... more

    How cells recognize uninvited guests

    Until now, the immune sensor TLR8 has remained in the shadows of science. A research team led by the University of Bonn has now discovered how this sensor plays an important role in defending human cells against intruders. The enzymes RNaseT2 and RNase2 cut ribonucleic acids (RNAs) of bacte ... more

  • q&more articles

    How gold plasma can make hidden structures visible

    In recent years, microcomputed tomography (μCT) has become a standard method in many medical, scientific and industrial fields. This non-invasive technique enables three-dimensional imaging of a wide variety of structures. However, a new combination of methods now makes it possible to visua ... more

  • Authors

    Dr. Markus Lambertz

    Markus Lambertz, born in 1984, studied biology with a focus on zoology, paleontology and geology in Bonn, where he graduated with a diploma degree in 2010. After a research stay over several months in Ribeirão Preto (Brazil) he worked on his doctoral thesis in Bonn, receiving his doctorate ... more

    Prof. Dr. Jürgen Bajorath

    Jürgen Bajorath studied biochemistry and obtained diploma and Ph.D. degrees from the Free University Berlin (West). He is Professor and Chair of Life Science Informatics at the Bonn-Aachen International Center for Information Technology (B-IT) and the LIMES Institute of the University of Bo ... more

q&more – the networking platform for quality excellence in lab and process

The q&more concept is to increase the visibility of recent research and innovative solutions, and support the exchange of knowledge. In the broad spectrum of subjects covered, the focus is on achieving maximum quality in highly innovative sectors. As a modern knowledge platform, q&more offers market participants one-of-a-kind networking opportunities. Cutting-edge research is presented by authors of international repute. Attractively presented in a high-quality context, and published in German and English, the original articles introduce new concepts and highlight unconventional solution strategies.

> more about q&more

q&more is supported by:

 

Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE