April 15, 2010

The next item in my school queue

is my Science Research midterm paper, which was something like 11 pages long. So, yeah, not going to happen.

So, I took notes from Nature Reports Stem Cells, a section of the journal that is, for the most part, open for public viewing.

Neurons can be reprogrammed with only one gene. This is because they already express the others. In other words, duh.

There is an article about characterizing the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Phosphoproteome. You had me until the last word. Oh, apparently it's about protein phosphorylation and how it regulates cellular processes at various sites in the genome. Epigenetics! Yay!

Then Testicular Cell Conditioned Medium Supports Differentiation of Embryonic Stem Cells into Ovarian Structures Containing Oocytes. Haha, testicles. Also, this means that men could make more man babies, without the aid of- oh, wait, no, they still don't have wombs. Sorry, bud, ain't gonna happen.

So, you can differentiate germ cells from stem cells. They're not quite *complete,* but they're pretty good.

And now some other random paper about how somatic support cells restrict self-renewal of gametes. Adult stem cells continue to divide, but it's asymmetric division, in which the daughter cell and parent cell are different. The support cells keep the stem cells from just making more stem cells using niche signaling. Also, a lot of these tests were done in drosophila. Drosophila is what my truck is named. Phil or Oso or Ophy for short.

So, anyways, I kept reading articles about differentiating germ cells from stem cells, which I really think is just about the coolest thing ever, because it could help with infertility as well as lessen the need for eggs (or embryos) in stem cell studies. I read one that talked about how primordial germ cells are set aside early and come from the proximal epiblast. When I read this article, I knew what the proximal epiblast was. What an absurd thought. I think it's one of the layers in the blastocyst as it begins to differentiate, and it apparently contributes to the first blood lineages. In fact, these researchers found that embryoid bodies have blood development. Embryoid bodies are little floating bubbles of stem cells that begin to differentiate because that is what stem cells do (TERATOMAS! Also, I totally remembered that all by myself), which means that they might be able to make germ cells (so embryoid bodies could theoretically reproduce. That's fucking weird). Anyways, these particular researchers also managed to differentiate primordial germ cells into haploid sperm. Pretty darn cool.


Gretchen said...


i remember those!!!

although i'm not sure where from...

femalemadscientist said...

Sounds like you're into all the fun complex signaling pathways of developmental biology!

I think even more interesting is how bone marrow stem cells eventually differentiate into macrophages, which eat bacteria for lunch, and antigen-presenting cells, which function a bit like beheading a member of the opposing army (virus, bacteria) and showing your troops (T-cells) what the guy looks like so they know who to kill. Of course there are a few other cell types that arise from bone marrow stem cells which are important for immunity!

You can imagine how complicated the signaling pathway must be for differentiation of the correct number of cells at any given point.