Ann Conkle
Mar 1, 2012

A*STAR scientists make groundbreaking discovery on stem cell regulation

A*STAR  (Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore) scientists have, for the first time, identified that precise regulation of polyamine levels is critical for embryonic stem cell (ESC) division and directed differentiation. Embryonic stem cells hold great potential for the development of cellular therapies, but one of the challenges is ensuring that ESCs are differentiated into the correct cell type. Using a mouse model, the team of scientists showed that high levels of Amd1, a key enzyme in the polyamine synthesis pathway, is essential for maintenance of the ESC division. To further demonstrate the critical role of Amd1 in ESC self-renewal, the scientists showed that increasing Amd1 levels led to delayed ESC differentiation. The research also revealed that downregulation of Amd1 was necessary for differentiation of ESCs into neural precursor cells.